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Friday, October 7, 2011

Mammoth Diaries, Day Two

Hands down, my favorite thing about vacation is having unlimited time. It's wonderful to just let the day happen. I get to sleep whenever I want to, read for hours, listen to podcasts, enjoy creation, and cook. It may not sound fun to you, but this is glorious stuff for me.

Today's photo comes from June Lake, where my friend and I relaxed all day at the Double Eagle Resort. It just does not get better than this, and all for only $20 for the entire day. Huzzah!

At one point (gosh, was it before the fish taco lunch or after the hot tub...?) I listened to an interesting podcast that included Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist and author. Maybe you know that he wrote a book titled The World is Flat in 2004 (about globalization in the new millennium). He has just come out with a new book, and while he was writing it, he looked back to his 2004 edition of The World is Flat and compared the realities of what he wrote with life only seven years later today. He said:

I looked under "F" in the index in the first edition, and Facebook wasn't in there... Twitter was a sound, the cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking place, Linked-in was a prison, applications were what you sent to college, and for most people, skype was a typo...

Clearly, technology is changing our lives at a mind-boggling pace. Friedman's drumbeat was that the entire world is connected now, more than ever, and he wasted no time in describing the profound implications in every way, shape and form for our lives and for the whole planet. He predicted some pretty dire things for our country if politicians don't stop wrangling over their differences... but that is for someone else to blog about.

What I thought about was the fact that while pundits are making a whole lotta hay about this new reality (the whole world can talk to each other so easily, leveling the playing field economically), that the kingdom of God has already been this "flat" for 2000 years! Whether believers are in Moombai or Miami, the Holy Spirit unites them across geography, cultures and time zones. This is wonderful and amazing, to say the least.

In light of that higher reality, Friedman's words were an interesting counterpoint to what I had read this morning, again from the prophet Jeremiah:

This is what the Lord says:

“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,

or the powerful boast in their power,

or the rich boast in their riches.

But those who wish to boast

should boast in this alone:

that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord

who demonstrates unfailing love

and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,

and that I delight in these things.

I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

In no way do I want to dismiss the discussion regarding the changes going on in our world today. I actually care very much about how the economies of India, China, and others are changing. It is fascinating stuff. But at the same time, I try to constantly remind myself that I do not want to place my faith in my pension or my government as much as I want to rest in the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth. It is profoundly comforting to know, furthermore, that God delights in these things.

Imagine what could happen if the church around the world -- don't forget, it is more interconnected than the internet, people! -- truly embraced these words from Colossians 3:1-4,

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

I want to imagine that vision because of the implications. As I kept reading in verses 5-17, I was reminded that the results would have far greater impact than Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest combined. Think about it -- what if billions sought to "put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you" (vs. 5), and instead "put on our new nature" (vs. 10)? What if all Christians (roughly 1/3 of the world's population) were to "make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends"? (vs. 13) Transformation.

How I pray that God's people around the world would "clothe themselves in love." (vs 14) We can certainly be in awe of the profound changes ripping through today's world. But I hope we are not so impressed by iPhones and the cloud and all that rest that we forget our greatest challenge: "Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives." (vs. 17)

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