Frameworks

"...our calling is to preach Christ, not Christianity. Christianity can readily continue to absorb...those who who have little to lose in giving up their way of life. But when we run into stable, ordered ways of life like many of the huge varieties of Hindu and Muslim cultures, we have to do like the Apostle Paul - we have to let Greek pagans become Greek followers of Jesus Christ. They don't have to wear our cultural clothing. They can believe while still wearing their own cultural clothing."
~ Rick D. Winter, Editorial,
Mission Frontiers, July/August 2008

As a doctoral student, I have been asked to identify a conceptual framework within which I will perform my research. As a child of God, I have been asked to use a conceptual framework - one that at first seems foreign and ill-fitting - as I walk through each day of my life. This framework is Jesus. Several people I know are preachers of Jesus in their everyday conversation: whatever they are saying, it boils down to Jesus. When they succeed, they give Him the glory. When they fall, they praise Him for forgiveness. They are vigilant about letting nothing distract from the cross - even those issues which, in our religion, can tend to take center stage. Christianity should not be about numbers of nominal converts, or size of outreach events, how many tracts you handed out today or how many people you proselytized, nor should it be about assimilating others to a Western religion. It should be about the true and transformational power of Christ's work on the cross. I don't want the 'taste' of my Christianity to be abhorrent, a thinly-veiled attempt to get you to think or act like me, but a sweet, overwhelming burst of grace and delight in the one true God! If the world is a dark curtain of sin and despair, I want to be the pinhole that is a glimpse of the Light. On the other side of that dark curtain is Christ and His all-saving power, if we would but turn around to see it! It is really all about perspective, isn't it? My cancer could be another swath of despair, my own personal patch of the black curtain that is human existence. Or it can be a shared suffering, little compared to what my Savior willingly and humbly suffered on my behalf that day at Calvary.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. ~ Romans 12:1-3 KJV

Thus might I hide my blushing face

While Calvary's cross appears,

Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,

And melt mine eyes to tears.

~ Isaac Watts & Ralph D. Hudson, At the Cross