Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the daily challenges. We’re in the middle of a series right now called Reset, where we look at how following Jesus resets our thinking about various topics in life. This week we’re thinking about how Jesus resets our view of society’s divisions.
The daily challenges are meant to help us explore what it means to follow Jesus, even in the midst of a busy commuting lifestyle. We have a rhythm that we follow each week to help us explore our topic. We introduce the idea on Monday, then Tuesday’s we study it in the Bible. Wednesday’s we try to let the Bible’s teaching sink in, and change and transform our thinking. Thursday’s we try to act out what we’ve been learning. Friday’s a day for prayer and reflection, and then Saturday’s a day for rest.
Sunday is a day for community, because even when we are scattered and busy, it is important that we come together as one community to explore Jesus and what it means to follow him in one place.
Shortly after moving to GTA, my wife and I had dinner with some new friends. We had just moved from a small community in eastern Ontario, a mostly monocultural community where a handful of people had been to university.
We found ourselves at dinner with two people from South Asia, one from Finland, and one from east Asia. 3 of the 4 had PhD’s and the fourth had an MBA. After dinner we realized we really had arrived in the most multicultural city in the world – meeting men and women from every continent, of every class and education.
Ajax is this in microcosm. Ajax has the highest number of culturally visible population; 32,005 residents or 36%. Also, 17,055 who speak another mother tongue.
We may be used to such diversity here, but think big picture. We have a daily experience that would have required a lifetime of travel just 100 years ago. Whether we were born here or moved here, we encounter people who look different, sound different, have different traditions and cultures than ourselves every single day, and may not even notice.
Sure, it’s not all harmony. There are divisions here and elsewhere in the GTA, but by and large in Canada there is little tolerance for discrimination based on race, gender and social class. It still happens, but when it comes to light, most Canadians react with disgust. It hasn’t always been this way, and isn’t this way everywhere in Canada or in the world.
Just look at the divisions in Ukraine between those who identify with Russia, those who identify with Ukraine. Examples abound like this one. North American history was quite different just decades ago – with segregated schools, buses, and not long before, slavery.
Add in gender, class discrimination around the world, in our recent history, and still today in Canada, and we can see there are many divisions in our world.
What does a follower of Jesus do with these divisions?
Is Christian just one of those divisions? To be Christian, do we say we are nothing else? Does becoming a Christian mean every culture that doesn’t have a long Christian history is suspect? Some missionary efforts have indeed gone this way – bringing western culture with Christian faith as one package with no distinction, to which others must conform. That’s been terribly damaging, and doesn’t even take seriously Christianity’s history as a global and multicultural phenomenon.
Question: When you picture a Christian, what kind of person comes to mind? Do they have a certain ethnicity, social class or gender? What experiences led to that?