October 7, 2008

Living in the Global Community

By Melody Maxwell

The World is Bigger Than My Context.
It’s easy for me to be consumed by demands of everyday life—work deadlines, church committees, school assignments, family responsibilities—and lose sight of the bigger picture. Sitting in a room with people from dozens of countries puts my concerns in perspective: God’s world is bigger than my world. I have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to listen to and learn from others. I may find that other Baptist groups have very different traditions and perspectives from my own. And I just may learn something valuable as a result.

The West doesn’t have the corner on theology.
In the past, I’ve sometimes been far more interested in snatching up the latest book by the hip thirty-something American church leader than in reading a discussion on the theology of the African church. But after hearing captivating ideas from leaders around the world, I realize that my perspective is far too narrow if I only listen to people who are like me. We in the West need the dynamic, emerging theologies of other contexts—and they need us—to breathe fresh life into our thinking.

Friendship crosses cultural boundaries.
What do a descendant of a slave owner and a descendant of a slave have in common? Plenty, if they’re followers of Jesus! Meeting new friends from around the world has demonstrated to me the power of cross-cultural relationships. It doesn’t matter if our countries, or even our Baptist bodies, have a history of disagreement or conflict. Hearing each other’s stories and praying for one another gives our group a connection that transcends human cultural barriers and reveals a glimpse of the eternal kingdom of God .

World news affects everyone.
After meeting Baptist leaders from around the world, I’ll no longer flip the channel when the news anchor starts reporting on current events in India , or delete an email about religious freedom in Zimbabwe . Now, those places aren’t just dots on a map—they’re represented by faces of my friends. As a result of conversations with other emerging leaders, I understand that my country’s policies affect them, and the actions of their governments have an indirect influence on me as well. I’ve learned that to understand today’s world, global Christians must be global citizens.

**Many thanks to Melody Maxwell who is a member of the BWA Emerging Leaders Network and a magazine editor with the Women's Missionary Union (WMU).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree! A wide horizon definetly costs a lot, but it also solves much more problems and avoid unhealthy narrowmindedness. If we share and inspire one another, no longer presumption is a problem.