Enter the Chaos

fusion-chaos18 years ago, as we stood on the threshold of cross-cultural ministry in Africa, tentatively taking stock of the Somali world and seriously second-guessing ourselves, an experienced field worker “pushed” us into the unknown with this advice: “Just enter the chaos.”

Looking back, I’m not convinced we always did what we should have done or said what we should have said, but in so much as strangers became friends and their chaos ours (and ours theirs) I know we were where we should have been.  To infuse culture you must be in it.

Transformational mission transforms us first.  It’s about people and partnerships not projects and policies, for it is in relationships we communicate, experience pain, taste joy, and change.

A youth worker said ministry is not calling young people to where the leader is (no matter how beautiful that place seems) but having the courage to go with them to a totally new place.  A missiologist in East Africa commented:

 Two things must come together to take us to that new place – The Gospel and the sacred arena of peoples’ lives.” (Vincent Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered)

I like that – honoring not just changing people, entering their sacred arenas, finding chaos and beauty, exposing both to the renewing reign of Christ – the One who enters our chaos.

Creation started with God’s Spirit hovering over chaos like a dove.  The Dove actually landed on Jesus, and then on Resurrection Day He breathed that same Spirit deep into his friends, sending them into a chaotic world that is now being recreated from the inside out.

When we share about increased immigration and changing demographics in Atlantic Canada, fears surface: “These new cultures and creeds might change us for the worse.”  Perhaps, but fear-based conversations and decisions are always bad ones and no positive impact happens outside of relationships.  We must enter the chaos.  And we are.

Christians are getting immersed in the cross-cultural worlds of old and new neighbours.  I’ve heard of interactions more interesting and intense than often occur in situations overseas.   These chaos-entering leaders (who look a lot like servants) are igniting mission, infusing culture and impacting lives.  Bravo!

As you consider cross-cultural opportunities around you, may you hear a voice saying, “Just enter the chaos.”

Comments are closed.