Having recently returned from a trip to Iceland and France with my two teenage daughters, I shared with the men of my church some of the benefits that I believe such an adventure can accomplish in the hearts and minds of those who travel.
One of those benefits is the possibility of becoming more cosmopolitan than American and therefore more Christian. Now behind that statement there is no intent to denigrate my homeland; I only mean that the exposure to other places and people-groups helps to get the perspective that you and yours are not the center of the universe.
While on our adventure we purposely looked for and happily found brothers and sisters in Christ in Reykjavik, Paris, and Marseilles. They, like ourselves, are shaped by their culture but transformed by the renewing of their minds. This display of the gospel in the lives of foreigners immediately triggers inquiry and critique but all within the realm of brotherly love.
The conversations with Icelandic and French believers expanded our understanding of international ideas of community, evangelism, politics, and worldview, while also causing us to see that God did “so love the world” and that we are just a part of the whole.
This helps our faith to be more Christian than American/Christian. This totally brings to mind the apostle Paul’s words to those who had received the gospel in Philippi as he exhorted those saints to not be conformed to the ideas of their culture but consider their new country: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The influence of the surrounding culture is powerful no matter where you happen to live and that necessarily includes the practice of indigenous Christian worship.
One way of evaluating our practices, appreciating our heritage, and seeing where we might need to change some perspectives, is by getting out of the house.
Where have your adventures taken you? Talk to us in the comments below.