Justin is studying for the SAT now, and I’m supposed to help him with vocab. He recently did a section where all the words were related to not talking: brevity, laconic, reticent, succinct. So, this post will be as succinct as possible. My idea of “succinct as possible” is already growing longer.
The post title is from this Swahili song we learned at Urbana 2009, a huge Christian missions conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The words mean “There’s no one / there’s no one like Jesus”. And after 34 hours logged on a bus, four days of seminars and sessions, a large stack of books bought, countless mission organization booths visited, and numerous reunion dinners, I think that what was I carried away most: there’s NO ONE like Him.
God isn’t box-shaped. Obvious. But it finally really, really hit me. He’s unpredictable and complicated, and to me at least, very confusing. But as C.S. Lewis wrote in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “He’s not a tame lion. But He’s good.” I think that, especially this past school semester, I’ve been searching for pat answers. You know, the neatly packaged pithy statements that tell you everything you need to know about God and the universe. “Oh, that’s because…” But God can’t be summed up in a little quote or idea. He’s HUGE! And at the moment, a mystery to me, in the best, most exciting way possible. Mind-blowing. I’ve struggled a lot since going to college with reconciling all the standards and such I’ve grown up with with the kind of Christianity I see at school. I associated certain types of music, dress, behavior with certain levels of spirituality. That’s definitely gotten blown out of the water at school, and that was just taken apart even more at Urbana. People from all over the world with every different background possible, but one love: Jesus Christ and His Gospel. There’s so many questions in my mind:”But if this is okay, what about this? Why did I grow up with this conviction? Is this right or wrong? Are they right or wrong? Does God even care about this?” I certainly didn’t have those answered at Urbana. Actually, I probably have more questions now. But, IT’S OKAY. Because [I say this reverently…] God is big enough to handle all the controversy. He knows our hearts, and the weaknesses there, and can somehow still be glorified through our mess. I’m not saying that we should do things half-heartedly, or that convictions don’t matter, but sometimes the things we, I, get all riled up about don’t matter. I think I had/have this idea that God is easily offended, and everything has to be perfect for Him to be pleased. Which also explains why I get caught up in the how so much…But worship does not equal suits and dresses and organ music and altar calls [though, of course, these are fine and good in their appropriate places]. God isn’t just the God of white Protestant North America. He’s God of EVERYTHING, and He’s marvelously big enough to transcend all cultures and backgrounds. Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord. Far too often I get caught up in how we’re worshipping and serving versus Who I’m worshipping and serving. If I were writing this in an English paper, my TA would write “You’re treading on well-trampled terrain.” Yeah. But it is just now beginning to sink into my stubborn little mind -and heart. God is unfathomable. And that’s wonderful. It blows my mind how creative and limitless He is. And the creativity and limitless[ness?] is what is shaping my future. There are so many possibilities with missions and outreach and evangelism, doing all sorts of things. asd;lkasd;kjasd;flkjasd;lkjadf AWESOME.
Okay. So much for succinctness. Here’s a few quotes from Urbana week:
John 1:14, our theme verse [which my pastor from home has also been preaching on!]: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The whole week was about Jesus Incarnate, how He dwelt among us and how we should follow His example, to live with the poor and unsaved with His grace and truth.
“Truth divides; it means rejection as well as acceptance. Thankfully, in Christ the truth came in a person.” -Dr. Ramez Atallah
Asian-American evangelism seminar: The Asian values of hospitality and harmony are useful for evangelism. We know how to make people feel comfortable, help people experience the kingdom of God.
“Live to be forgotten. Some of the most work for God’s kingdom has been done by the nameless -they lived out Christ, not themselves.” -Patrick Fung, director of OMF
” All sin is trying to fulfill a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.”
“Change is not absence of struggle, but freedom to choose holiness amidst struggle, yearning after God in surrender and obedience.” -Christopher Yuan
“Before you go [to the mission field], leave behind your pat answers, degrees, and prejudices; make yourself nothing.” -Oscar Muriu
“God’s justice doesn’t always look fair, but it’s always good.” -Shane Claiborne
“Once God has been exalted to His proper position, the opposition becomes a tiny blip on the radar screen.” -Sunder Krishnan
“Part of our calling as artists is to witness to the beauty that isn’t there but God wants to see [in the lives of the poor].” -John Hayes
OHH and shout-out to Jessica, Yun, Christy, Kelly, Jayme, Jedi, Jess, and Dan! It was neat to see my friends from school get to know my friends from Shanghai [and Jed, hehe]. Reliving old memories while making new ones together. :]
that was anti-succinct, i think.