The first night of the FORGE intensive we had the honour of hosting Ash Barkers book launch. His new book entitled "Make Poverty Personal" was for sale for the first time. It was great to have John Smith give an intro to Ash, he followed the theme of social justice through the bible, and talked about how it was such a refreshing thing to see younger people like Ash continuing to bang the drum of mission to the poor.
Unfortunately I had to go a bit early as it was a goodbye dinner for my friends that I have been meeting with regularly reading through the gospel of John. They are going back home to America, and I will miss them a lot. It was a miraculous meeting, as my wife and I had taken in their cousin years ago when he had no where to live. And then I wind up becoming friends with them through my jiu jitsu training, only to find out almost a year later that we had lived with their cousin. I missed Ash's speach, but felt it was right to be with my friends that night.
Saturday morning I heard Allan Hirsch give the foundational talks for the FORGE intensive. I always love hearing Allan teach as he builds a theology, and a history for the things I have learned by trial and error over the years. This time I really keyed in on one word.
The idea that most of the time when people come to faith we not only invite them into our world, and culture, but in so doing we extract them from their own culture. This essentially takes them away from the people they are most naturally able to connect with, and share their new found faith with. Most studies show that at about the three year mark, most Christians have no more non Christian friends.
This reminds me of my own story. I needed to leave the culture I was a part of. I was part of the punk rock culture in my city, I was also a part of a group of bullfighters, that was like a second family to me. The problem was I could not continue in my walk with Jesus amidst this subversive culture. It was actually good and right for me to be extracted.
But only because there was no one open minded enough to join me, and support me within it. This was why I made it such a point to join those that I was discipling in their own context. To give them the strength to walk away from things like drugs and sexual temptation, but still be among their friends that also needed help walking out of a lifestyle that was very destructive.
It was a very good session for me, and judging by some questions, was pretty influential with our new interns as well.