Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let's stop "Christianizing" the world.

This week's Gospel Reading is the Great Commission. Jesus tells his followers to go make disciples of every nation. For centuries the Church has functioned on the understanding that this means making everyone in the world just like us. After all, if we are good Christians, then that must mean that a good Christian must look just like us, right?

This attitude has done incalculable damage to the world as well as to the Gospel. Peoples who would have made a unique contribution to what God is speaking to the world were told to wear clothes, or hats, to learn English, or some other European language, so they could properly understand the scriptures. Translation of the scripture was often slow and piecemeal.

I have read the Gospels and nowhere do I find Jesus telling his disciples to make the world one mass homogenous lump of believers. Instead he sends them out to preach the Dominion of God. That place that is made up of radical grace. A place that is near at hand and yet as far away as the end of the world. We wait for its coming with bated breath and yet we breathe it in with the fire and hope of Pentecost.

The Great Commission as I read it is a command to go and live as God's disciples in every place on earth. To live so that people will want to find their own relationship with God and be part of that fascinating, unsettling, joyous, place that is God's Dominion.

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