Integrated

His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?'”  John 9:2 (NET)

I was talking today with a church leader about the implications of a person with a Western worldview reading a text written by ancient Middle Easterners.  The Bible, of course, was written by ancient Middle Easterner’s who write from an ancient Middle Eastern worldview.  Most of the people I interact with on a daily basis read the Bible from a modern Western worldview.  And as I’m sure you know, one’s worldview is not an overt aspect of how we perceive and interpret things. Instead, a worldview is very subtle and covert, but it colors everything we see and interact with.

The distinctions are many, I am sure. But in my studies thus far, I’ve become acutely aware of this:

  • A Western worldview is a very dualistic lens. It sees the inner and the outer/external journey as separate and distinct, almost antagonistic against each other.
  • An Eastern worldview, especially and including an ancient Middle Eastern worldview, understands a person to be very integrated, body mind and spirit as one.

As such, many Westerners are perplexed by passages such as the one in John 9.  What a silly question to one with a Western worldview.  But for one with an Eastern worldview, the question is obvious. Physical sickness can and often does begin with the mind and soul.  Even Western medicine is beginning to admit the inherent connection between inner and outer aspects of self.

Try reading the Gospels with an Eastern worldview in mind. Try looking at church history with the overtones of an Eastern worldview. You will see things differently.

  • Like the laws of the Torah that make a person clean or unclean by what they eat and what they touch.
  • Like the woman who only needed to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe to stop a perpetual bleeding.
  • Like how lepers were cast out of cities to survive on their own, not only because of the physical contagion, but also because if their perceived spiritual depravity.
  • Like how the early church was the one to start the concept of hospitals … because they knew that caring for the body was also caring for the soul in some deeply mysterious, God-breathed way.

May we all learn to embrace our God-breathed integratedness and, in the process, come to know and reflect our Creator more clearly.

Temple Care

“I know, my God, that You examine our hearts and rejoice when You find integrity there.  You know I have done all of this with good motives, and I have watched their people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.”  1 Chronicles 29:17 (NLT)

This is part of David’s prayer after he gathered all the materials for building the temple, the place where God would dwell.  No expense was spared.  Everyone contributed generously.  Gold and silver beyond belief and precious stones and other riches.  The temple that Solomon ended up building with these materials was probably beyond most of our imaginations.  They wanted it to be as magnificent as it could be because it was where God would live.  And yet, David acknowledges that, even still, it is too insignificant: “who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to You?  Everything we have has come from you, and we give You only what You have given us” (1 Chronicles 29:14).  The most magnificent dwelling they could make for God paled in comparison to God’s own magnificence or to the things of God.

David wanted both God and the Israelites to know that his only rationale for building a magnificent temple was to bring glory to God.  It was not that he wanted to impress the neighboring nations or lord it over his people or be the king with the most opulent kingdom.  He hoped to build something that might be worthy to be God’s dwelling place on earth.  And He knew that God knew his heart and his intentions.  Yes, it wasn’t going to last forever … but it was to be God’s dwelling on earth.  It needed, as best as possible, to reflect God’s glory.

And so are you.  You are God’s temple — the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within all who call Christ “Lord.”  (See 1 Corinthians 6:19) What type of temple are you building for Him?  What type of care are you giving His temple?