The Danger of a Homogeneous Blindspot

The Danger of a Homogeneous Blindspot
 
Phil Miglioratti @ The http://Reimagne.Network
 
WHAT - is homogeneity?
SO WHAT - does that have to do with my faith? Or those I disciple?
NOW WHAT ...?
 
This quote in an email from 2012 appeared while I was digging for explanations of why we all have blindspots that are obvious to others but not ourselves.
"Embedded within our self-definition, we build relationships, institutions, cities, systems, and cultures that, in reaffirming our values, blind us to alternatives."
                    "Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril" by Margaret Heffernan
 
The simple truth is every human being is a composite of a myriad of influences, many of which control us without our conscious knowledge.
 
That composite is, in my opinion, the result of our drive to belong with, to be validated by, people who have a sameness with us; our values, interests, preferences, beliefs, Even our weaknesses and fears. We are drawn to what appears to us to be a homogeneous context. Familiar. Safe. A verification of who we are and what we believe.
Homogeneous: "of the same or a similar kindnature or class; of uniform structure or composition throughout a culturally homogeneous neighborhood or a group marked by common characteristics." "The quality or state of being all the same or all of the same kind." (Dictionary)
 
Our search for homogeneity is inherent in our:
  • Identity: Self-image is the search (and often, struggle) to know who we are and discover our purpose in life
  • Family: We cannot choose our brith family but not all birth-families are healthy; some seek "family" with others who suit/affirm their mind-set or value-system
  • Ethnicity: Ancestoy.com has exploded with millions searching for their biological relatives
  • Community: Neighborhoods, schools, churches, shape (and stunt) worldview, behaviors
  • Geography: Terrain impacts life experience (mountains, desert, plains, tropics):
  • Nationality: For most of history, ethnicity and nationality were close to synonymous; now we have Italian-Americans, African-Americans plus mass migration
  • Society: The segment of society we live in or identify with can shut us off from what life is like in other social environments
  • Economy: Financial status funnels us into a "class" and each class has a different experience with/access to the systems/institutions of society
  • Affinity: We gravitate toward certain groups, jobs, or activities based on personal interests, lifestyles, past experiences (divorce, for example)
  • History :Everyone is affected by a limited (and sometimes inaccurate) view of history, which is often communicated to define/defend a particular group 

 

Homogeneity is both beneficial and (potentially) destructive. Beneficial as it binds together persons of l interests, values, skills, with the potential of bringing happiness, peace, progress from their partnership and cooperative endeavors. Destructive when the worldview of that homogeneous group affirms or demands bad behavior.

"A blind spot is a very small gap in the visual field of each eye—an area of your relatively nearby surroundings that you can't see. It may sound like a physical defect, but everyone has a small natural blind spot (physiological blind spot), and it's not usually noticeable. (VeryWell Health)

 "An area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination." (Dictionary)

 

As I write this, the Taliban (a homogeneous group bonded in their drive to create a nation based totally upon their fundamentalist version of the Islamic religion) has taken control of Afghanistan, threatening women and Christians, education and modern progress. While this is an obvious example of the dangers of myopic thinking, the blindspot of unexamined homogeneous thinking can infect clubs, churches, political parties, schools, and businesses.
 
When Jesus taught us to love our neighbor, pray for our enemies and to welcome strangers, he was opening our eyes to the negative effects of a homogeneous worldview. To ignore someone because of their ethnicity (not a Jew) or nationality (Samaritan) or social class (a socially powerless women who had been divorced by 5 husbands) is a sin produced by a prejudiced viewpoint.
Homogeneous thinking simply, and strategically, seeks people, places, things and ideas that are identical to the current parameters and preferences of the controlling culture. The objective is to protect the status quo. Things visible (appearance, fashion, architecture) and invisible (values, attitudes). Assimilation protocols. Insider language. Life-style boundaries Societal systems (justice, education). National songs and stories.
 
Throughout history, homogeneity has been vital to survival within families and between nations. Speaking the same language was critical to every aspect of culture, from commerce to courts, education to entertainment. Traditions passed on forms and functions from one generation to the next. Wisdom spoken through storytelling. "Our" history was described in song. 
 
Homogeneity produces a consensus worldview indoctrinated from birth through teachings of belief and behavioral norms. Ignoring cultural protocols (dress codes, music style), advocating counter-cultural mores ("the fixed morally binding customs of a particular group;": Webster), resisting or redefining class boundaries were met with resistance, even violence.
 
Homogeneity, while protecting current beliefs-behaviors-boundaries, is unable to distinguish between what remains essential and valuable and which narratives, value-systems, and-mind-sets-will benefit from review and possible revision or replacement. A thriving culture must encourage both the foundation of conservatism and the fresh scaffolding of liberal thought.
 
SO WHAT...?
 
Jesus, knew a self-protective and passionate homogeneity preserves and serves the kingdom of this world but not the kingdom of God. He exhorts us to repent;  a radical change of thinking that is necessary to see and live this kingdom lifestyle.

Jesus began to preach, saying,
“Change your hearts and lives, because the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Matthew 4:7
 
That radical change of thinking must be lived out in every level or relationships; individuals, families, affinities,  ethnicities.
 
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.
 But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.
If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven.
He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people,
and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong.
 If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward.
Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends,
you are no better than other people.
Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends. Matthew 5:42-47
 
 
His message? Love beyond. Beyond economic classification which creates isolated and under resourced communities.. Beyond ethnic differences of skin color, language, type and volume of music, food aroma and taste, greeting protocols. Beyond social customs and political perspectives.
 
 And we no longer see each other in our former state—Jew or non-Jew, rich or poor, (slave or free),male or female—
because we’re all one through our union with Jesus Christ.  Galatians 3:28
 
As followers of Christ we are not required to reject our family or ethnicity nor are we all to adopt a single cultural identity. We have freedom of thought regarding the issues and ideas of our society. We have freedom of choice to select what we believe to be best. But we are required to discern between our personal preferences (what makes us feel respected and safe) and the prescriptions and principles of the Kingdom of God. The former must be judged by the latter.
 
This is a struggle for every believer, regardless of leaning left or to the right. Homogeneity makes it easy to believe we hold to liberal ideas because we see liberty in Scripture, or that we champion conservative causes because we see a law and order God in the Bible. Preferences become prejudices (and worse) when they preclude anything outside our sphere of reference.
 
We apply our Lord's instruction (Matthew 4 and 5) to one-on-one relationships but seldom think of "neighbor" as the family next door or a group of people who share an affinity or the ethnicity of refugees or immigrants. Rather than responding in/with love, we are much more prone to judge, dismiss, disagree, or assume our own superiority.
 
Self-Centeredness is a clue to an individual who believes their personality is the best basis of behavior for everyone they meet.They judge others by their own thinking and behavior.
  • Ethnocentrism extends that worldview to other families and nationalities.
  • Nationalism is the product of the homogeneous perspective applied to the policies and traditions of a society or nation.
#ItSeemsToMe…much of the dissension within the Evangelical movement across America is based on a lack of considering homogeneity as a contributing source to our often radically varied opinions.
 
I truly believe we have an inerrancy-complex. We have become so secure in our belief of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture that we unconsciously begin to over-trust our interpretations and applications of the biblical text,  Homogeneous teaching and preaching, even when faithful to the Scripture-statement, interprets and applies the text within a bounded set of circumstance related to the homogeneity of the audience. Those applications are not necessarily false but they may be inadequate to expand the worldview of the listeners.
 
The homogeneous blindspot causes us to automatically consider differences as a threat or heresy to "biblical" truth (read, our group's doctrinal statement). Thinking we are speaking up for Godwe are actually reacting to a perceived peril to the equilibrium of our culture or limited worldview. Reimagining justice, for example, threatens the historical narrative of the United States that has been taught and sung  and celebrated since our inception. Treatment of the First Nations tribes or the kidnapped African slaves is described from the vantage point of the homogeneity of the majority-culture (whites or persons wholly assimilated to white culture). Reviewing and revising our view of national history must not be considered an assault on Christianity when it is actually an honest attempt to correct a false description or definition of what actually took place.

The resistance to change that may result in loss of control over cultural forms and functionstifles the work of the Holy Spirit to convict us of national sin, God's definition of a  righteous nation, and deadens the fear of God judging that sin. Recently, I had the privilege of contributing to a book of daly prayers prompted by Jesus' prayer in John 17. A biblical, Christian response to the issue of racism, it is designed to open the heart of the reader to experience inner healing, repent, where needed, and move toward heart-transformation ... but also a cry for God to bring healing over the evil of racism in our nation ... a prophetic voice declaring we cannot turn a blind eye to this issue any longer ... includes short stories by people of color ... written by national leaders of multiple ethnicities. The book was ignored by the largely majority-culture customer base of the publisher because it was clearly dealing with a view of social justice that, though thoroughly biblical, was outside the scope of their homogeneous sensibilities. The  homogeneity of majority-culture American evangelical congregations is a breeding ground for prejudice (stereotyping, discriminating), as unintentional as it may be.
 
 
NOW WHAT...?
 
Let's pray daring prayers...for ourselves ... for our leaders ...for our congregations...
  • ASK...the Holy Spirit to reveal our blindspots and convict us of any sin associated with our limited perspective
  • SEEK...the leading of our Lord Jesus to a new, biblical-sized, perspective on God's Kingdom
  • KNOCK...carefully and prayerfully on closed doors: explore different perspectives, extend grace to people you've avoided or feared, expect to be changed for good and for God (Romans 12:2)
  • CONFESS...any mis-take or sin the Spirit brings to mind
    • Contrition is the recognition of the need for change (Romans 12:2)
    • Convince yourself you need to reassess
    • Confess ("say the same thing") to God
    • Confess to others you can trust to help you into a Spirit-led, Scripture-fed reassessment
    • Continue to Ask - Seek - Knock...
Scripture is infallible. I am not.
 
Phil Miglioratti @ The http://Reimagne.Network
 
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  • Our worldview matters more than we realize. And we probably have some things wrong: Worldviews #1


    It is critical to understand the baggage (if I can call it that) that we bring to the table. Whether it is a discussion of politics, matters of science, ethics, or issues that confront our daily lives, the fact of the matter is that we all approach these topics or decisions with a prior set of assumptions, and these assumptions often radically affect what we are even willing to believe or do.

     

    NB: I know that I am in the middle of a series of posts on the Beast and the book of Revelation. I will return to that series in a few months. As the saying goes, “we interrupt this series to bring you a special bulletin!”

    What is a worldview and why does it matter?

    I prefer to define a worldview as, “a set of assumptions that we hold to which affect everything we do and believe.” Another way of saying it is: a worldview is a set of assumptions through which we view the world!

    For example, if we see a homeless person asking for help, what do we do? The fact is that most of us have already predetermined, to some extent, whether or not we might be willing to assist them. Some have predetermined for various reasons to never help a beggar. There is nothing to consider. Some have determined to always help: now they need to see if they have anything to offer.

    Sure, we might evaluate each situation differently. But we are not blank slates.

    As we consider each situation, we do so through the lens of our prior set of assumptions.

    Everyone has a worldview.

    The fact is that everyone has a starting point: a prior set of convictions through which we filter information. There is nothing wrong with this. It is how we see the world. It is, in fact, necessary.

    After all, if we didn’t have any prior assumptions, then we would have no basis for filtering information and we would be paralyzed anytime a decision came our way—such as, “do you want to get something to eat?”

    This means that when we come to topics or issues that we have never heard of, or given much time or attention to, our process of discerning begins by mentally examining the information and trying to compartmentalize it. That is, we immediately take the new information and begin to figure out how this fits or doesn’t fit with our already-held convictions.

    Objectivity

    Ever heard someone say, “I’m going to objectively evaluate something and make up my own mind”? Sorry to say it, but to some extent, this is not really possible.

    NB: I don’t want to quibble about trivial matters, so I will concede at this point that it is conceivable that one may be “objective” when it comes to certain trivial matters—even though I don’t think it is true.

    The point is that we approach everything with a set of assumptions. Such assumptions are sometimes hidden and not even apparent to us. They are such a part of what we believe and do that we often do not recognize them.

     

    Again, I am not saying this is bad. It is what it means to be human.

    What is bad is when we are not willing to recognize them. What is bad is when we are not willing to put them on the table and question them.

    Being unwilling to evaluate our convictions assumes that we know they are absolutely true. The sad part is that when we are not willing to evaluate them, we have deified ourselves. We have made ourselves the arbiters of truth. In effect, even God cannot change our minds. (though we all believe that God can change our minds, the fact is that this can only happen if we first are willing to be open to the truth).

    For example, suppose you are at a Superbowl party (because everyone loves sports) and your team is playing—or maybe the team you bet $50 on is playing—and with no time on the clock, one of the teams score a TD to take the lead and win the game. You are either elated or weeping—depending on which team scored.

    You then notice that the officials are huddling and discussing whether or not there was a foul on the offense. If so, no TD, and the game is over.

    So, was there a foul?

    Now, you might want to assert from your ivory tower, “well, I need to see the replay.” But we all know that our opinion on whether or not there was a foul is largely, if not absolutely, dependent on which team we are rooting for.

     

    NB: for all our Raiders fans out there: it was an incomplete pass. The tuck rule is a rule. This is not an opinion but a fact. Go Pats!!

    Can we even be objective?

    The answer to this question is simple: “no.”

    But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. We should absolutely try! Always!

    NB: as a Christian, I would say that we must always be humble before the Lord and allow the Spirit to help us in the process of discerning. Of course, this leads to a significant danger: namely, Christians who are absolutely confident that the Lord told them “x.” This may be true. But it is also true that you might be mistaken. Saul of Tarsus (who would later become the apostle Paul) was certainly convinced that he needed to do everything in his power to punish the early Christians. Then Jesus appeared to him, blinded him, and sent him to Damascus. Saul was wrong. 

    The fact is that we too often go into a discussion (and matters of religion and politics bring out the really ugly side of this) with certain assumptions. And we often do so with the intent of proving that those assumptions are right; or at least that the “other’s” assumptions are wrong.

     

    Our desire (or shall I say “need”) to prove ourselves correct influences where we are even willing to go in order to learn more about a given topic. And it influences what we are willing to believe or not believe.

    At the end of the day, we then pontificate (that is what a Pope does) and declare that such and such is true or false, and here is the evidence. When challenged we ardently defend our convictions with the plethora of data we accumulated.

    But have we honestly looked at the evidence? Did we approach the evidence with a willingness to consider the possibility that we might be wrong?

    Jesus is the Truth

    As a Christian, it is my deep conviction (yes, it is a prior assumption that I firmly believe is true) that we should always be in a learning posture.

    After all, I believe that “the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

    I also believe that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

    Now, if Jesus is the truth, then all truth leads to Him. And either directly or indirectly all truth comes from Him and points us to Him.

    If our goal is to become more like Jesus (Col 1:28), then our aim in life is to pursue the truth. But we can only do so if we are willing to have an open mind: that is, we must be willing to admit that we could be wrong.

    It is my conviction that Christians should be the most open-minded of all persons.

    In fact, I would contend that the path to Christlikeness begins with a humble acknowledgment—which comes by relying on the Spirit—that Jesus is the source of truth (of course, salvation is more encompassing than a mere belief) and it is then characterized by a life-long pursuit of the truth.

    NB: In saying this, I in no way intend to deny the essential role of the Holy Spirit in this entire process. Neither do I intend to suggest that the possession of the truth alone is sufficient. Christlikeness is the result of a person’s character which endeavors to live in accord with the truth. Hence, the preeminence of humility!

     

    Shared from:

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/determinetruth/2023/01/our-worldview-...


    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/determinetruth/author/rdalrymple/
  • Friend,

    All of us are familiar with the fact that there are various “tribes” of churches in North America. They are tribes based on denominational ties and heritages, various networks, affinities toward a certain megachurch or group of them. Many of the tribes have their own conference. I actually love it, because I believe there are many great ways of doing ministry and reaching people.

    However, there is a great danger in not getting outside your tribe enough.

     

    Are you familiar with the term “group think”?

    Group think is a phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group agreement overrides proper solutions or alternatives. We tend to surround ourselves with people who think just like us and agree with our worldview, but then… we all think and do ministry the same way... and we all get the same results!

    That’s group think.

     

    2023 needs to be the year you escape group think. No, I don’t want you to leave your tribe. I just want you to venture out of it more this year so you don’t fall pray to group think.

    Two great ways you can venture out this year:

    1. Join us for our Courageous Pastors gathering in ATL in February! Bring your team! Our Coaches and speakers are an amazing cross-tribal group of leaders that will challenge your team in new ways… guaranteed!
    2. Join my LIVE PERSONAL Church Catapult Coaching Group of 50 Sr & Exec Pastors and help your church break new growth barrier in 2023.
     

    Your friend and coach,

    Shawn Lovejoy

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  • Truth and the Bible Worldview

    Features

    by Christian Standard | 1 January, 2023 | 1 comment

     
     

    By Bobby Harrington and Daniel McCoy 

    This article could well have been only a paragraph long. We could simply have written this:   

    A “worldview” is your overall view of the world. Having a biblical worldview means that the teachings of the Bible fill in your answers to the big questions about reality. For example: Why do we exist? If you have a biblical worldview, your answer will include how God created us to bear his image and rule over his creation. What’s the source of our deepest problems? According to the Bible, our misery stems from our decision to mistrust God and sever ourselves from his authority. What’s the solution? The gospel of Jesus. Having a biblical worldview means you take biblical teachings to be the core truths upon which you build your life. Biblical truth becomes the lens through which you view the rest of reality.  

    Done. Nothing too controversial here. Sounds a bit vanilla, doesn’t it?  

    But if this is vanilla ice cream, it comes stuffed with red hots.  

    Because there are two kinds of people in your church who won’t let a straightforward description of a biblical worldview suffice without a major debate. Let’s call them, hypothetically speaking, “Spencer the Specifist” and “Amber the Ambiguist.”  

    SPECIFICITY VS. AMBIGUITY

    Spencer argues that the biblical worldview needs to be a lot more specific than what we’ve described. The biblical worldview, he explains, stakes a clear biblical position on everything from welfare benefits to how to avoid a recession to which candidates God favors in the midterms. Let’s be clear: Christians should approach every dilemma with truth and wisdom cultivated in the soil of God’s Word. But Spencer goes beyond this to say there’s one biblical stance when it comes to each issue, and if you don’t hold this biblical stance on each issue, you don’t have a biblical worldview.  

    While Spencer lobbies for greater specificity, our hypothetical Amber is forever arguing for greater ambiguity. Are we saying that a biblical worldview must be theistic (as in, God created the universe and remains distinct from it)? If so, then Amber thinks that’s too narrow. The Christian God should be defined more loosely, she suggests. For example, if we interpret God in a more panentheistic mold, in which God unfolds/incarnates himself into the creation, that plays better with other religions, especially Buddhism.  

    Are we saying that a biblical worldview teaches that Jesus is the Savior? That God judges personal sin? That biblical views on sexuality are still binding for Christians today? Then, according to Amber, our “biblical worldview” is too narrow. In fact, it’s worse: our “biblical worldview” is really just us trying to maintain power by reducing Christianity to our own narrow version of it.  

    CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE 

    As you read this, you probably feel more sympathetic toward either Spencer or Amber, but if you’re anything like us, you’re probably a bit annoyed by both. Perhaps when it comes to navigating the Spencers and Ambers in your life, you feel a bit like Roxanne Ritchi in the movie Megamind. As the “damsel in distress,” Roxanne finds herself in the middle of yet another war of clichés between the dueling Megamind and Metro Man. She says, “Girls, girls. You’re both pretty. Can I go home now?”  

    Yet, we want to suggest that this is not a battle you want to back out of and leave to the Spencers and Ambers. Having a worldview based on biblical truth is still a really important concept worth sticking up for.  

    So, what makes the concept of having a biblical worldview so important?  

    The answer is simple: Every person fills in these worldview questions with answers from somewhere. You abdicate here, and the people you should be discipling will get their biggest questions answered from outside Christ. As nice as it would feel, there’s no neutrality when it comes to these big worldview questions. When you see Christianity as more of a collection of therapeutic insights and practices—and less a worldview that speaks truth into life’s biggest questions—you’ll find your Christian beliefs falling like dominoes under cultural pressure.  

    PLAYING DOMINOES 

    If dominoes are standing close enough together, it’s naïve to hope one can fall without causing the next one to fall. “Your point?” Amber asks with a yawn. The point is, if you care about “contend[ing] for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 3), then you’ll pay attention to falling dominoes.  

    Here’s an example (and we’ll use Amber’s own faith evolution so she’ll pay attention). An early domino to fall for our hypothetical Amber had to do with gender. Based on New Testament passages, the leaders in her church held that, biblically, the elders and main preacher needed to be qualified men. She began to realize just how misogynistic and unjust this was. Women were being left out of these positions of importance despite being gifted for them. Under the guise of biblical faithfulness, these men were maintaining privilege and power over the church and marginalizing gifted women.  

    The next domino used the same logic with different characters. The Ambiguist realized that the church had long been doing the same kind of marginalizing with members of the LGBTQ community. Gay couples were perceived as living in sin, even when their relationships exhibited the fruits of love, joy, peace, etc., just as well as many heterosexual couples. Amber concluded that heterosexuals in the church had been maintaining their privilege and power by marginalizing gay people.  

    When the Ambiguist zoomed out, she realized that the evangelical church had been working this formula outside the church, as well. How is it that the church, which claims to carry on Jesus’ mission of love, feels it appropriate to condemn Muslims, for example, to the category of “lost”? (The Muslims she knows seem just as Christlike as the “saved.”) Thus, the “exclusivity of Christ,” which now seemed to Amber to be a contradiction in terms, was the next domino to fall. Overseas missions, which she now viewed as imperialistic, fell next. The next domino was evangelism itself, as her earlier enthusiasm for the Great Commission was eclipsed by pressing political causes.  

    Eventually, even the bedrock notion of a God separate from humanity seemed a belief that marginalized people. Some of the spiritual authors she had been reading, such as Richard Rohr, called themselves panentheists, meaning that God incarnates himself into creation. She too began to see herself as a panentheist, and she reasoned that, since we’re already part of God, it’s barbaric to think we need some bloody sacrifice on a cross to appease God and reconcile with him. So, with this upgrade to a better view of God, more dominoes fell.  

    What do you think of these falling dominoes? Is it basically harmless? Or, to put it bluntly, has Amber left the faith to where now she’s in spiritual danger? As you well know, the question is way more real-life than hypothetical. While you might have a Spencer or two on your church board, you’ve probably got a few Ambers in your youth group . . . and maybe under your roof. You’ve probably got some Specifists and Ambiguists leading small groups. The need for discerning how you should feel about all this is past due.  

    BULLSEYE BELIEF

    So, if you are watching these sectarian fights and falling dominoes and your heart hurts, then you’re seeing how important it is to disciple people into a biblical worldview.  

    At the risk of disappointing Spencer, we want to suggest that you picture Christian beliefs mapped out on an archery target and then ask which of those beliefs should form the innermost bullseye. If you don’t like the idea of faith crumbling all around you, that’s where you start. You return to the Bible’s bullseye beliefs and build on that.  

    This is because the point of faith isn’t to pursue what feels most therapeutic for you. Or to reinvent faith until it best matches your sense of justice. Those paths will get you nothing more than a pile of fallen dominoes. We need to build our lives on what’s true. If Christianity is true, then start with its bullseye beliefs.  

    Like what? Chad Ragsdale, in his Renew.org Real Life Theology book Christian Convictions: Discerning the Essential, Important, and Personal Elements, gives four “bullseye beliefs” on which we need to build our lives: (1) God exists, (2) Jesus is Lord, (3) Jesus is the risen Savior, and (4) Salvation is by grace and not by human effort. These bullseye beliefs are worth becoming our core convictions. They’re worth defending and persuading others of. The Bible’s bullseye beliefs are planks that comprise the “faith once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”  

    If we don’t start with God’s true answers to life’s biggest questions, we’re standing lightweight and fragile, swaying at the mercy of cultural winds. Let’s get serious about building our worldviews, and the worldviews of those we disciple, on these core convictions and build from there. Again, when it comes to these big-picture questions, there’s no neutrality. Someone or something will provide our answers. Followers of Jesus “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  

    EXAMPLES  

    To close, here’s a sampling of basic biblical answers to some of these big-picture questions. However, first a caveat: Having true beliefs is only a part of biblical faith. Biblically, faith includes trusting in Jesus to save us and placing our allegiance in Jesus as king (see Mark Moore’s Faithful Faith, Book No. 5 in Renew.org’s Real Life Theology series). We can’t treat our faith as if it’s merely a checklist for true beliefs, when having true beliefs alone leaves us at the starting gate. With that caveat, here’s a sampling of basic biblical answers to some of life’s big-picture questions: 

    1. What is our purpose? God created us to know and follow him as we fill the earth and reign over it as the managers he has put in charge. 

    2. What is our core problem? We fall short of God’s glory because we pridefully resist his authority as a threat to our well-being. 

    3. How is this problem solved? We turn from our self-centered ways and trust and give our allegiance to Jesus the Messiah as our Savior, Lord, and King, and he forgives us, fills us with his Spirit, and restores us to our original image. 

    4. How should we live? We should live according to the way of Jesus the Messiah, which can be summarized as loving God and loving people, as he teaches. 

    5. How does it end? We are either with the Lord or apart from him in eternity, based on our relationship with Jesus through faith in him and his gospel. 

    Bobby Harrington serves as point-leader of Renew.org and Discipleship.org, both collaborative, disciple-making organizations. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.  

    Daniel McCoy serves as editorial director for Renew.org as well as an online adjunct instructor for Ozark Christian College.  

     
     

    CHRISTIAN STANDARD

    Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com
     “Used by permission of Christian Standard
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