“Even brighter than the moon-moon-moon. It’s always been inside of you-you-you, and now it’s time to let it through-through-through… ’cause Baby you’re a firework!” -Katy Perry
Week 4: Dominions & Domains
I learned a lot of very beautiful things last week, from some very beautiful people! Two of our school staff, Ed & Kay Morales, were joined by the splendid Philippa Laird (a Kiwi!
Which is to say, from New Zealand!) to teach on the topic of “Dominions and Domains.” I definitely did not know what that meant; I thought we would be talking about Spiritual Warfare, but to my great surprise and delight we talked about Social Justice, Cartwheels, and even MTV. What?
Social Justice & The Christian Church
Gandhi once said something that never ceases to inspire me to action, because I want so desperately for his statement to no longer ring true.
“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”
Ouch! Right? I think Gandhi is definitely stereotyping, but he has a point. Why isn’t the Church MOVING in the world with so much passion that people would never say things like this? Good question, and I might even have a little bit of an answer! One of my favorite things that Philippa talked about this week is our history as the Church. For at least the first 1500 years of our existence, we were changing the world: transforming nations! Missionaries would go into other nations with professions, bringing education and healthcare, improving the overall well-being of the people AS WELL as sharing Jesus. During the reformation the church was looked to as an example of establishing governments that would be fair, strong, and stable. So what happened? Phillipa explained that several hundred years ago part of the church began to believe that our role as Christians was only to ensure that people were taken care of, that they had food, shelter, healthcare and education, and that their salvation was God’s business and not ours. In response to that, another portion of the Church said that ensuring salvation is the ONLY thing that matters.
This is how a thing called Split-Thinking developed.
When we look at the life of Jesus it is obvious that both types of ministry are important to Him. He traveled around healing the sick, providing food for the masses, AND sharing the truth about our Holy Father by preaching to the crowds and discipling his friends. Mercy + Evangelism.
Back to Split-Thinking we can see that this is still very much how many Christians view the world today. Some things are viewed as sacred and others as secular. (Evangelism vs. Social Action, God vs. Politics, 700 Club vs. MTV, etc.) This is where the domains of society come into play: Family, Government, Education, Church, Science & Technology, Economics, Communication, and Art. Each of these domains was designed by God so that the world could and would learn who God is, because they are representations of who He is. The Scriptures speak about these domains because all aspects of life are sacred and important to God, and our role as Christians is to soak all areas of society with the Love of God. So, let’s become more like our Christ.
My other most very favorite thing that Phillipa talked about is something that is almost always in conflict within me. Does God have a plan for my life? Uh-oh.
An amazing man named Joseph covered this during my DTS, and it was the most freeing, liberating, and exciting thing I’ve ever been taught. I remember Him saying that our freedom in Christ is WIDE, that we don’t always have to wait on the voice of God before making every decision because God wants us to decide things for ourselves! Well, several months later I found myself having to make some very big choices, and I said “GOD! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! PLEASE JUST TELL ME, I WANT YOU TO HAVE A PLAN FOR ME!” Because sometimes it’s less scary to not have to make decisions for yourself, you know? But it’s also a lot like walking a tightrope.. because you’re always worried about whether or not you’re doing God’s will. So this is why it was both incredibly freeing, and also terrifying when Philippa began talking about that concept again, about how much God loves choice. That He hasn’t pre-scripted my life because He wants ME to build my life WITH HIM… not try to figure out what He has planned. In my heart of hearts I believe this to be true, but I think my mind has a hard time wrapping itself around the fact that God could be so good and gracious and trusting with me.
I’ve also struggled with this concept before because I have definitely felt God lead me places before that I wouldn’t have ended up in on my own, in which case it certainly feels like He had something perfectly planned. One of my fellow classmates explained this though in a way that brings much clarity to it all: “Some people are in a process of God weaning them off of a very strict dependence on Him and His guidance.” But.. ultimately, God wants us to be able to make good, Holy, choices without Him telling us exactly what we should do. Shawn also said, “The important thing is to be relational with God, and to keep talking through your life and your decisions with Him.” To journey WITH Him.
My week outside of class was quite wonderful also, at Circulo Andante (the ministry I help with on Thursdays: teaching 1st & 2nd graders in a poor neighborhood) we worked on the letters B, P, C, & D (as they all rhyme in Spanish!) We played bingo with our worksheets (which first involved five minutes of searching for little rocks to cover our squares), colored a picture of a goat, AND I was informed that I would be teaching the next class! It should be interesting… = )
Much Love to you all!