Renewal. Whenever the Mission of the church is reduced into caring for the ‘spiritual needs’ of weekend participants, or co-opted into anything less than the beautiful entire renewal that God has in mind, He invites us back to participate in the story He is still authoring.
Spending time in another culture forces us out of our comfortable shorthand, bias and uninformed opinion. As we travel we often find ourselves both learning from the most resourceful people on the planet, as well as finding levels of frustration we had no idea could exist. Our too simple solutions are proved false.
Cross-cultural partnership often means that failure suddenly exists not simply as a concept but as an actual reality. Frequently, the beautiful idealization of partnership has been intractably dismantled. Both parties are angry at the other for diminished expectations and it is normal for people in this circumstance to grieve a little. Now comes the tough part … are both willing to continue the difficult path of reconciliation?
What began in the initial excitement phase of cross-cultural engagement, has now been stomped by the cruel forces of the rejection phase. It is important to realize that this is the right moment when an true and honest engagement might actually become possible.
If participants are willing to push through into growth, to commit to the hard work reality of cross-cultural relationship and effective partnership – in more than word alone – a truly engaging partnership may emerge.
New people are invited to trust the story of the kingdom. Others, who have already walked this way, hold their hands out to new-comers as they choose to take their first faltering steps. The practice of the kingdom becomes natural when the hand-holding and support goes both ways, developing mature partners. Cultures around the world share the beautiful stories of how the Kingdom of God is relevant anew, as it wrestles in the Kingdom of Caesar, or in the Kingdom of Sudan, or in the Kingdom of Capitalism, or even in the Kingdom of Canada.