We Need to Get Out More

I remember hearing years ago that the Ayatollah Khomeini – Iran’s supreme open-church-doorreligious leader at the time – had never heard of the Beatles or Shakespeare.  “What an idiot,” I thought.

Actually,  it’s quite possible that during his time in exile outside Paris, he had indeed heard of those and other Western icons.  And more to the point, I am the idiot.

The BBC reported yesterday that The Largest Religious Gathering on Earth recently ended.  And fellow Westerners, can we identify this event?

  • No, it wasn’t  Joel Osteen’s most recent worship service.
  • No, it wasn’t a rally cheering on the conclave in Vatican City.
  • It definitely wasn’t a gathering of any Christian denomination.

It was Kumbh Mela in India – attracting was turned out to be 12 million pilgrims to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in Allahabad. India.  I had never heard of this event until yesterday.  So who’s the idiot now?

We Christians have got to get out more, especially as the world is getting smaller and smaller.  And didn’t Jesus say something about this?  Yet we still act as if  this is a Christian nation (in some way beyond self-identification, not discipleship.)  We continue to be Christians with a 1950s mentality.  We continue to make assumptions about What Everyone Wants (i.e. to join a church) which are erroneous if not foolish.

How can we “get out more“?  Opening our eyes is a start.

A dear parishioner once told me that everybody in her apartment building was a Christian.  She had no contact with non-Christians, she said.  But I remembered being in the elevator in her building with women wearing chadors.  “What about those women who wear head scarves in your building?  I think their Muslim.”  She had never even considered that.

!

We can also get out more by having conversations with people who don’t do church. If we simply know and try to love these folks without attempting to snare them into church membership or “save them,” we might find that they have no desire to join a church and they couldn’t care less if we wear pinned or adhesive name tags on Sundays.  Imagine showing people – all people – simply what love looks like.

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