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making the world different December 4, 2006

Posted by Cobus in Emerging Church.
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I already mentioned my current holiday work for the department of education. It involves meeting a lot of students from different academic institutions. Since everyone working here has to be students, the obvious question when meeting a new person is “what do you study?”. My answer, “theology”, has caused some interesting reactions. On day one, only a few hours after we arrived, one of the fellow workers started talk about how theological students was supposed to act differently, because of their supposed calling. This mainly focused on the fact that theological students shouldn’t drink too much. In the conversation that followed I just kept on saying that she should be called just as much as I am, and that the there is no reason
why the fact that I am studying theology should be a reason for acting differently. In the end she was convinced that I must be one of those sinful theological students “downing 12 beers in 2 hours”. I’ll leave it to those who know of to evaluate her conclusion. The conversation there. But I’m reading Leonard Sweet’s SoulTsunami at the moment, and when I came to the part saying “Don’t make a difference in the world. Make the world different” (p126), I started thinking about the experience. We come from a time when Calvin’s idea of your job being a calling from God was used to justify working 12-14 hour days, to justify capitalism and the “hard-workers” getting rich. Your job being a calling, for some meant advertising yourself as a Christian plumber. We come from a time when the task of the church was to run some projects which have a little social significance, and even this didn’t always happen. A time where the closest thing to making a different world was takeover of government and using law’s to force down morals on people.

We need to regain Calvin’s idea of your job being a calling, and broaden it. Our life is much more than a job. The calling is for your life, 24/7 disciple. And Calvin cannot be used to justify being an absent father or mother, oh, and we have misinterpreted Calvin if we wanna use him for justification of our capitalistic drive. The church need to be more than running a few projects, we need to be a missional community in everything we do, and individual Christians need to be
part of making the world different in every way, because they are followers of Christ, and that is what followers of Christ do. We need to guard both against leaving the different making to church projects, and leaving it to government laws. We don’t need Christian plumbers, we need followers of Christ in life, part of which is being a plumber. Making a different world, part of which will happen directly through a true missional community.

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