There is a culture in every place you touch with your feet. It is up to you to decide how to engage that culture. By not engaging in the culture at hand (or foot), you have made your decision to allow culture to dictate your life, or you have lifted your banner of rightness to let everyone know who is the king of the current land.
And the war begins.
We have seen it all over the news. If you have been on a mission trip to somewhere, you have seen it.
A group steps in and brings a non-native culture as a higher culture that will change the lives of the people who are being missioned to. I have been on one or two of these trips, disguised with a hammer, disguised with some cash to bring into the local economy, disguised with a backpack to ward off the commies because I’m on an “eco-tour.”
Those were some exciting times. And speaking from my own experience, there were some interesting disguises. I am definitely not saying that every mission has disguises. That’s for sure. But I definitely was part of some.
Asking and Reacting
I remember when I was in my early 20’s…there was this girl…
I went to her father to talk to him about potentially pursuing her daughter and dating her. I wanted to spend time with her and see if we connected…among other things.
But my presentation was measured and sure to request the “blessing” of her father. Because that is what you were supposed to do. I was pretty sure this was a slam-dunk. His response to my request:
“What are your intentions?”
My reaction to his question was, of course, to let him know how “special” his daughter was and how “interested” I was in getting to know her. I talked about how excited I was with her “knowing the Lord” and having “a heart for Him.”
I filled in all the right blanks for him.
A quick reaction to the concerns of her dad provided the right answers to get me past the firewall. I continued to react in that relationship. Any time something questionable or difficult would come up, I would react like a ninja to make sure everything “looked” right. But it wasn’t real. It was a show.
No surprise, that relationship didn’t work out.
Responding and Inquiring
Quite a few years later, there was this other girl…
I was being pursued by Christ. I responded to the Lord by pursuing Him in everything I was involved in.
With reckless abandon.
I began to see a woman who was in my circumstances on a regular basis. I saw her as one who was also pursuing the Lord in everything she was in. I pressed in, and after a while, we began a relationship.
It was about that time when I was able to see that this woman was the woman I wanted to grow old with. I wanted to go all out for the Lord together with her. I wanted to…
The next step for me was to ask her father for his “blessing.” Except there was something different this time. This was not a cheap request. I was not going through the motions. I was serious. I scheduled a meeting with her father and talked with him about our situation. I was sure he knew why I was pursuing her. I made sure he knew what my intentions were. And in closing, I inquired of him for his blessing. When I asked him, I did not have a second option.
I threw in all my chips. I was all in.
I didn’t actually desire only his blessing of our relationship. I was asking him to allow me to join his family. I was asking him if he would be willing to go all in together for the care and protection and future of his daughter in addition to what he had already provided her. I was asking to be able to join him in a transition period that would allow me to share the love we have for his daughter.
Those were my intentions. I was not asking. I was inquiring, urging.
To a few weeks ago. We have been given a Bride to interact with and to love and to share with the Father. Our portion of the Bride has Her own culture. She is beautiful and radiant and precise in Her own way.
We have had some people approach this Bride and come asking to be incorporated. They then react to our answer in a particular way.
We have had some people approach this Bride and come because they are responding to the Lord. They then inquire with us to begin a relationship with this Bride.
Pretty different perspectives.
I can tell you, to have someone come to you because they are asking to get involved with an “organic church” and then react to what they see from their perspective has been one thing. There can be a lack of understanding and appreciation for the culture of the Bride. There can be an expectation that may not be met. There can be confusion and a false reality, all the while a certain undertone of intention hovers about.
Having someone be lead by the Spirit to engage in the culture of the Bride in our circumstance is quite a bit different. When we approach the Bride from a place of understanding and appreciation for culture and different perspectives, we allow the Lord to be our expectation. We allow the Lord to be our reality. We allow His intention to rise to the top.
We are able to share in a wonderful relationship as He fills in the blanks when needed.
That, brothers and sisters, is truly a blessing.