It strikes me how much Christians can tend to focus on the second half of that saying without really challenging themselves with the first. "Separate, separate, separate...and let the "world" come to me...on my terms." I guess that seems to be the motto of many. Or "go out and force the terms"...yep, that motto shows up too.
Don't get me wrong...perhaps in some way that's the call of some. I don't believe all though...trapped in a box of "safety". And I know I'm not one of the few.
The notion of the saying "Be in the world but not of it." could come from many places in the Bible, but John 17:15-18 seems to be the best representation.
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
So...we need to be the "sent" ones.
But what does "sent" look like? How should we do "in"? For someone like me who isn't necessarily "modern" or "post-modern"...someone likely in the middle of all that tension...I feel a great deal of freedom to be prayerfully considerate of the Holy Spirit's leading. I don't think there's pressure to have to say certain words...the rules of "good" evangelism...nor do I think there's the pressure to have to say nothing at all to meet a sub-standard definition of tolerance. We let God inspire the heart...and absolutely follow it...trusting that He knows the "world" better than we do.
More than anything I experience the great weight of being more fully present. Bringing the full impact of who we are in Christ. Granted, I'm not sure how "fully" we can become on this side of death, but I know it's more than we've accepted. There is certainly something more identity-related that He seeks to birth and nurture in us and have us present wherever we are. Something more "being" than the typical Christian "doing". Authentic mission born of and infused with sonship. That does NOT mean bringing the picture/definition required by certain groups...the presentable and "acceptable". No, no, no. And it doesn't mean forcing the bulletpoints either.
Yep...sounds foggy, messy and wonderful. ;) But I think it opens the door to being "in the world" with powerful descriptors like "build", "create", "inspire", "invest"..."relate".
For me...and I guess, unfortunately for those who'd like to be less in the world who have to deal with me...this means engaging culture. Not stepping back from it. I feel the desire to be actively present...out there. And, in fact, I enjoy bringing "out there" in here! In my home, in my relationships, in my life. I don't want to be an evangelist or a missionary...I want to be a daughter who loves madly just like her good Father does.
And...isn't it so amazing what we learn from others? Oh my...so beautiful.
How to do that more? Hmm...we shall see!
Anyway...My brain has been thinking about living more intentionally outward...some personal questions, some sermon-related questions. So I'm on a mission. :)