Saturday, November 29, 2008

Siz ey vefasizlar ...

Yakub'un mektubu 4:4, 10

Siz ey vefasızlar, dünya ile dostluğun Tanrı'ya düşmanlık olduğunu bilmiyor musunuz? Dünya ile dost olmak isteyen, kendinini Tanrı'ya düşman eder.

Rab'bın önünde kendinizi alçaltın, O da sızı yüceltekectir.

  • vefa -- loyalty, faithfulness.
  • vefasız -- disloyalty, unfaithfullness.
  • vefasızlar -- those who are disloyal, unfaithful
And, three words that begin with d:

  • dünya --world
  • dost --friend
  • duşman --enemy
I have been giving a great deal of thought for many years to the issue of community. One useful insight is the sociological description of America as a "low-context" culture. People tned to keep to themselves. Other cultures around the world assume that everyone participates in the life of everyone else. An American lady in China who goes to the public bathing facility wonders why so many other ladies pick the same time to show up -- then discovers that she is the object of curiosity! On the other hand, if you have to move, a dozen neighbors show up without being asked. You need help, they assume it's their duty to offer it.

Over the last few years, I've eaten more frequently with Turkish Muslims than I have with Christians from my own church. You would think that we, who share the miracle of redemption, would be filled with eagerness to get together and compare notes. But, we were Americans before we were Christians, and our early programming is a challenge to overcome.

Muslims who become Christians lose their whole world. First, the job. Then, their family. Finally, in many occasions, their lives. Can we, as secularized and atomized Christians, invite these people over into our world? To be blunt, do we have a coherent world to invit them into? One Turkish Christian scholar cites research that suggests that around 70% of converts from Islam go back to their earlier faith. I grieve, when I realize how much of that can be blamed on our own shortcomings as Western Christians.

Yet, as these verses hammer home, everyone has to, at some point, "fish or cut bait." You can't be both the friend of God and the friend of the world that is fleeing from God's face. Granted, there is the "world that God so loved," the world of people and nature. Then, there is that elaborate scaffold of artifice and deception that we cherish as a shield from the face of God.

May God have mercy upon us all. As vs. 10 points out, we must humble ourselves in front of God -- who will then lift us up.

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