I have a deep, genuine and abiding passion for everything foreign- foreign films, foreign food, foreign literature, foreign athletes and even foreign perspectives. Something mysteriously subtle happens when you travel abroad, you learn as much about your own culture as you do about the novel nation you are exploring. This mysterious something has happened to me over and over as the years have continued to come and go.
Having traveled to forty-five distinct and unique nations, I am still a proud citizen of the United States of America. But I now view myself and the world around me not only through an American lens, but through a broader global lens. The way I see the world has been forever altered as a result of these unforgettable foreign excursions.
I desperately want to use the incredible privilege and responsibility that I have inherited through my American citizenship to make the world a little bit better place. Through my travels I am constantly reminded of the millions who suffer hunger, slavery, child prostitution, aids, and spiritual darkness. Yet, when I return to America, I can’t help but notice how so many Christians routinely exalt in their usual church services while becoming slowly and simultaneously dull to the agonies which most of the world experiences.
I am no exception to this. I can’t tell you how many times I have internally rejoiced in my family’s own personal security while mentally blocking out the cries of the hurting. It is so much easier to surround yourself with the comfortable and convenient than it is with the suffering and pain that permeates our planet today.
Yet, even though many Americans (myself included), have long thought of the US of A as the center of the universe, we aren’t. Today, the planet we live on is a multi-cultural, globalized world. And this reality is only going to become more and more pronounced as the decades continue to pass.
But long before the present process of globalization began, God's message of global Good News went forth and began its work. The idea of globalization, therefore, is not foreign to the Bible. Globalization has been around for thousands of years. It is just in this past generation of technological advances that it is reaching it culmination and rapidly transitioning to its peak.
I truly believe that in my children’s lifetime a paradigm shift will take place within their generation where they see themselves more as citizens of the world than as citizens of one particular place. For some Christians the thought of the slow erosion of national boundaries is frightening and prophetically apocalyptic. But it shouldn’t be.
All of us who consider ourselves followers of Christ already have a foreign perspective on life and should feel at home with things that are foreign to us. All of us who have the privilege of calling ourselves American Christians should embrace the hurts and hopes of those from distant lands. We should understand that just as we are called to view our time on this earth as foreigners and strangers in a distant land, so to are we called as Christians to view other cultures as one grand, beautiful tapestry of God’s kingdom.
Globalization at its core is a way of viewing the world as interconnected and interdependent. Though globalization has many shady sides to it in it’s current state, philosophically it aligns with the master plan of God to “go into all of the world to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
My desire for my own children is that they would grow up with a global lens with which they see life through. I pray that they would love to learn from those cultures, which are different from their own and learn to care for those cultures, which desperately need them to care.
This is the greatest education I have personally received in my lifetime, the invaluable education which traveling affords a person. The diversity of the expression of the Body of Christ around the globe has taught me more than any classroom or textbook ever has.
I pray that my children and this next generation of young ones, comes to appreciate and appropriate the beauty of diversity that inhabits our world today. I pray that they never become callous to the needs of their global neighbors. And I pray that these global goldmines, which God has entrusted us with during these amazing early days of the twenty-first century, would be used for His majestic purposes and mind-boggling plans.
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