I am appealing to everyone that I know to do something that is outside of us. I know it is more comfortable inside. The seat is well worn--formed to our shape. The AC is running and the temperature is comfortable. The frig is full of more than we can eat. The cupboard has all of our comfort foods.
Tex Sample has said that the invention that has had most influence upon our sense of connectedness and community is the air-conditioner. Before the AC was a part of our lives, everyone sat out on their front porch to cool off. As people would walk/drive past, we would speak. We would visit. But then the AC came and we had to shut our doors and windows. How many times did your mama say, "Close the door! The AC is on!" It is even true in our cars. We would drive with the windows down. But not today, we close ourselves up to stay comfortable.
So what is my appeal? Build churches, send people, establish relationships across the oceans! We cannot isolate ourselves within the 48 states. The world IS our parish. So before you react, hear me out.
We are either going to send people, churches, and the Word of God across the world or we are going to send soldiers and weapons. We will receive either good friends in faith or body bags of our sons and daughters. I know that is harsh, but it is true! I believe that the answer to all the extreme groups of violence in the world is the body of Jesus Christ--the Prince of Peace. The presence of the church and the relationships Christians can forge can change the world.
Building churches and establishing vital relationships in Africa, South America, and Asia gives the world another alternative to violence. We can offer the weapon of prayer rather than armor and artillery. Our unity can be in good works of faith for all rather than extremist selfishness.
I can hear some of you saying, "Jack you are dreaming! You are being naive!" My answer: the cross. Jesus faced the same violence, the same extremism on all sides. His answer was the presence of redeeming love and mercy.
Without the presence of the church and Christians, others will believe that there is only one alternative--fight or be killed. I think God is inviting us, begging us to be show another response.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, gave words to this vision when he said, "I look upon the world as my parish."
Pray for me as I pray for you.
In the Master's Name,
Dr. M. Jack O'Dell