Kyle & I started going to a new church over the summer after doing a lot of “church shopping” since moving to Lincoln Park. We settled on Park Community Church’s Lincoln Park campus that meets off of Clark St. within walking distance of our apartment. I love Park because the message is always relatable to my age group, and more importantly, relatable to being a Chicago young professional. They spend services talking about how you can be a Christian 9 to 5, not just outside of the workplace.
But what I like most about Park — I always leave wanting to read the Bible more & SHARE with others the message of the week.
So this blog post is dedicated to the past two messages centered around “Global Giving”.
We were fortunate to have Carl Medearis, author & speaker on Muslim-Christian relations, speak to us two Sundays ago. He has written two books you can find here & here that I plan to read (and maybe blog about…).
Note: The following is my interpretation of the past two services, so if you don’t believe, understand or agree, I’m open to comments but know I’m just doing the best I can!
He started by asking us a simple question: If you were to ask a Muslim if they believe in Jesus, what do you think they would say? Me – being very ignorant on the matter, assumed the answer was no. To my surprise, the answer (99% of the time…) is “yes”. One step further, he asked if were to ask a Muslim if they love Jesus, what would they say? Again, Carl said that most Muslims would say they love Jesus. So, what’s the deal then? Why the disconnect? Why the controversy?
Bottom line – the question we should be asking (and that he wanted to address further…) is “Is there a difference between Jesus & Christianity?”
If we want preach Christianity, the further the disconnect, versus focusing on Jesus – which should be the most important topic anyway! Carl provided us his 3 “thoughts” on addressing this question.
1. Lift up Jesus. If you start with Jesus (vs. Christianity) you will get further in your conversations. Focus on Jesus & why we love him & what he means to us & our faith. We will find more similarities and can move on from there.
2. Don’t get defensive when someone pokes your faith. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. You don’t need to defend your faith to anyone. You just need to go back to step 1.
3. Think the best of others. If you look for differences or don’t allow others a chance to express their true feelings, you will never get to experience the friendship & relationships that are possible.
So what’s with this blog post title? What is “glocal”?
Part 2 of this series was around giving globally, but thinking “glocally”. We talked about the Book of Ruth (which again, me not being an expert in the Bible still struggled to find this short book in the Bible…). The Book of Ruth tells the story of Ruth, a Moab, accepting the God of the Israelites and the prejudice she faced and overcame to extend kindness to her mother-in-law, “Mara”.
In Chicago (and a lot of major cities) we don’t need to go to Africa, Asia, Central or South America to give support. We have a global melting pot right here in the neighborhoods of Chicago. There were some fun facts (again…don’t quote me on these…) about the diversity of Chicago:
21% of all people in Chicago are foreign born
35% of families in Chicago do not speak English as a 1st language
We learned about the refugees, foreign exchange students, neighbors, & coworkers that are not from America and potentially came here with nothing or from nothing and need help and assistance.
One of the small groups at Church sponsored a refugee family that came here with only 1 suitcase for a family of four. They helped them set up their apartment, showed them where to get groceries, made them dinner, and met weekly to ensure a happy & easy transition to America. The stories she shared about how appreciative the family is for their support speaks volumes of God’s work in our community.
Kyle & I have been thinking more & more of ways we can give “glocally” – whether sponsoring a refugee family through Chicago’s World Relief Organization, volunteering to tutor English at an elementary school, tithing specifically to assist refugee families in Chicago to name a few.
We will keep you all posted, but these past 2 services have really opened my eyes to the diversity of Chicago and how big of an impact we can make in our own neighborhood.