Thursday, May 09, 2013

Classic: Tidal Wave - Part Deux

I asked for help with translating "tsunami" in my Tidal Wave post back in early 2004... and I got it. Time has not diminished the truth of this post - nor the hope of Christ I see in our post-Christian world.

Thanks to Bob Gregory & Keith Monaghan (hi, guys!), I now have two conflicting (sigh) translations of the word "tsunami". While's Bob's definition sounds a whole lot more scientific, the one I was "remembering" last week was the one Keith sent. (BTW, for those who need a program to keep all these names straight, Keith is one of my closest long-time friends, who now lives in Portland, Oregon. He has many stories about me as a high school student which he knows to keep to himself as I have a number of stories on him!)

Anyway, here's what Keith sent:

TSUNAMI = "earthquake wave"
 Having grown up in the Los Angeles area, I'm pretty familiar with the whole earthquake thing. You know, stand in a doorway when you feel shaking, expect aftershocks, it's only a matter of time before San Francisco disappears into the ocean, yadda yadda yadda. (If you live around them long enough, you get kind of blasé about the whole thing.)

But the idea of a wave with that kind of power just scares me to death. I'm not much of an ocean person (don't like sand in my shoes, don't like swallowing salt water, and so on) so the thought of a something I don't like becoming destructive sends chills up & down my spine.

Interestingly enough, I know that a lot of us are feeling that way about the direction our culture/nation is going. It's an "earthquake wave" and nothing seems to be standing against on the onrushing tide of change. Institutions and people we've trusted have crumbled, overwhelmed by the onslaught. We're not a "Christian Nation" anymore... granted, that assumes that we ever were a Christian nation, which I question. (We were "Christianized"... but that's a topic for another day.)

You know, you may think I'm nuts, but I'm pretty sure that this "earthquake wave" in our culture is a good thing. We are now in a situation more like the time of the early church than ever before. Rather than in a "favored" position (as Christian churches had through most of the history of the U.S.), we are now simply one of many religious/spiritual choices available to people.

"Have you lost your mind?" (Yes, I can hear some of you thinking that.) No, not really. Our "favored" position gave us some privileges in society but had a tendency to mute our ability to speak truth about the culture. Our "favored" position caused us to get lazy about explaining our faith in terms non-churched people could understand. Our "favored" position let us get away with "build it (a church building) and they will come" rather live out the "go!" command from Matthew 28.

Like I said a minute ago, we're living in the same kind of time as the early church - and remember what kind of impact the church made in the book of Acts.

That day about 3000 took [Peter] at his word, were baptized and signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

Everyone around was in awe - all those wonders & signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met.

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant & joyful, as they praised God. People  in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
     Acts 2:41-47 (The Message)
I want that kind of impact for us here in the evangelical church - call it our own "earthquake wave" to transform the lives of the people. And with the power of God, it can happen.

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