I’m sitting in a different favorite cafe’ on Dickson Street during “Bike, Blues and BBQ”. It’s early enough in the morning that the bikes aren’t quite flooding the street just yet. In case your not aware a few hundred thousand bikers come to Fayetteville for this event.
Besides the people of UBC, I love Fayetteville because it is diverse. A few guys sitting next to me (not the normal clientele) were trying to order breakfast. I’m pretty sure I heard a request for an egg omelet with shards of glass; a request to replace the bacon with strips of leather; and grits. Well, I’m sure I’m exaggerating their request, but they looked like they could eat it if they wanted to! Walking in comes a “guy” (I quote the term not because I question his gender, only my interpretation of what a “guy” is) carrying the equivalent of a man-purse with a large sunflower on it.
Now, had the guy walked in later and the men sitting next to me not had enough to eat, I’m pretty sure I would have never seen the guy with the man-purse ever again. But I digress.
This event with bikers certainly creates a wider gap in the Fayetteville culture than normal, but on a regular week Fayetteville is just plain diverse. It reminds me of Austin, TX in many ways: Lots of art, politics, university students, bikers and people with guns. Basically, you have people who hug trees and people who shoot stuff out of them (hopefully NOT the people hugging the trees). Okay, now I REALLY digress.
Overall point. We all may identify with a particular part of our culture in our own backyard, and that is somewhat inevitable. However, we are to have better eyes than that as we increasingly love Christ more and this world less.
Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” We need the spiritual eyes that only the Holy Spirit can give. There are those lost and without hope in the world, no matter what their culture is. There are those part of the body of Christ needing encouragement, perhaps even a rebuke, no matter what their culture is. We are either united by the greatest point of unity, the cross, or we are divided by the greatest point of division, the cross. Regardless, if we can begin to look more according to the Spirit and not the flesh, we will see others in the shadow of the cross, regardless of their culture.
Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I believe that one of the greatest questions of self-evaluation for how much we love the world is, “How do I see the world (people) around me?” That may seem awfully light, but it is of great import. What culture do you think will be in heaven? Cultures are defined by the people (their language, mores, traditions…). Heaven is defined by the presence of God in the glory of Christ.