There is a famous poem by John Godfrey Saxe titled The Blind Men and the Elephant. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Six wise men, each blind, encounter an elephant. If not, give it a read, it’s really good. Each of the men experience a different part of the animal and end up disagreeing with one another as to what this creature actually looks like. None realize that each has experienced only a part of the entire picture.
I liken my own faith experience to this poem. When I became a Christian, I gravitated towards one particular “stream” of Christianity. The churches I attend, podcasts I listen to, and books I read, can tend to all speak the same language and describe things in similar fashion. While great, if I’m not careful I’m only experiencing a distinct aspect of the Body of Christ.
What Stream Are You Drinking From?
You are plugged into a certain stream of Christianity, regardless of where you are along your faith walk. I make that blanket statement because I have 99.9 percent confidence it is true for all of us. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it just seems to be how it happens naturally. We gravitate towards the tribe that feels like family, and when we find ourselves there we feel “at home.”
Last week I attended a conference in Monterey, California. This was the 29th Annual Transform our World Global Conference led by Ed Silvoso and his team. Invited by a friend, I went for a few reasons, none of which were because of Ed Silvoso or Transform Our World. I actually knew very little of both before going. I’ve heard Ed’s name mentioned before, but haven’t heard a single message by him, nor had I ever heard of the Transform Our World organization. The experience was pleasantly surprising.
When Worlds Collide
The main reasons for going were because I felt the Holy Spirit say this was an opportunity I needed to take, the person inviting me is someone I am building a relationship with, and three of the main speakers are big names within “my tribe.” Everything else fell under the “let’s see how this turns out” umbrella.
One of my biggest takeaways was seeing two Christian worlds collide. Maybe I shouldn’t say collide, perhaps collaboration is more fitting. To be in the presence of people who spoke and acted slightly different than me, but shared the same love for Jesus and desire to see His kingdom come here on Earth, was refreshing. Many times throughout the conference I noticed these people were describing the same thing as “my people” but were using different terminology.
Here’s one example. Ed loves to use the word Ekklesia, a term for believers gathering together and transforming the world around them. I’d never heard that term before; instead I’m used to the phrase Kingdom Culture. Same thing. Same Jesus. Same Holy Spirit. Different words.
Challenge Your Perspective
Leaving that conference, I walked away with a newfound perspective. I was encouraged through hearing testimonies from all over the world of what God was doing. Argentina, Hong Kong, Vallejo California, Brantford Ontario. I learned new terms for familiar principles. I met extended family members in the Body of Christ.
Here’s my biggest takeaway. There is power in moving out of familiar places and into new territory. When we listen to a sermon by someone unfamiliar, read a book by a new author, listen to a song by a band we’ve never heard before, there’s tons of opportunity to expand our horizons. Each one of us has knowledge about something that others have yet to discover or experience. When we share it, or put ourselves in the position to receive new things, an amazing synergy takes place. Think cross-pollination.
Something New This Week
That’s why this week Cultivate Connection’s weekly email looks a little empty. We’ve asked our readers to share some of their favorite things. We’re excited to see what new and exciting resources come up. So much to be discovered, so much to look forward to. Who knows, maybe one of you share a book that changes the course of someone else’s life.