Sermons

Summary: A Christian worldview is part of living in step with the Spirit

The Big Picture:

Walking By The Spirit

Bible Reading:

Galatians 5: 16-25

Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

PREPARED BY

KEN GEHRELS

PASTOR

CALVIN CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH

NEPEAN, ONTARIO

Anthony was caught in a gulf between two worlds.

He had come to Canada to study commerce, intending to return home to Singapore and go into business. On his return he was to marry a girl he had had a relationship with for some years. Although they were not officially engaged, it was assumed within their cultural setting that they would marry.

But something happened. In his second year in Canada Anthony became a Christian through a group on campus. He began to grow as a person in ways he had never anticipated. As often happens during such periods of growth, old plans began to change. Anthony concluded that he was not in love with his friend back home, and he began to cool the relationship in his letters. Finally it became necessary to go home and make a clean break.

His friends in Canada were impressed with the moral integrity of both what he had done and how he had done it. Now that he had returned, however, Anthony was a broken and depressed young man. Because he had ended this relationship, his family had rejected him. "You are worse than an animal," his father had said. "Even animals show gratitude."

In his parents’ eyes and in the eyes of his former girlfriend’s parents, Anthony had committed an unpardonable sin. He had dashed the hopes and expectations of his family by being disloyal to a whom to whom he had been betrothed. In Anthony’s home culture, loyalty is one of the highest of all moral duties.

[told in The Transforming Vision Walsh & Middleton p.15]

In its deepest places cultures of Canada and Singapore clashed - seeing the same deed from two very different perspectives. The result being that in one culture Anthony was honored. In the other he was despised.

That there was such a radical difference was not because of misunderstanding on the part of one society or the other. Both understood most clearly what Anthony had done.

The difference came because of vastly different values and priorities. The Canadians were impressed by his honesty and integrity in dealing with changing circumstances, and by his open sensitivity in dealing with the former girl friend. The relatives in Singapore saw those things, too, but gave them very low value when compared to loyalty and gratitude.

Then tension ran deep.

Anthony could not escape it. The battle raged deep inside him.

Ways of looking at the world - at what matters most, what is of value and what is not, where our priorities ought to lie and what is disposable.

Pull all of this together, wrap it in a package, and we call it -

- Worldview

We all have one.

Every culture and community has a way of looking at the world.

The teachings, the practices and activities of the people gather over time to shape an underlying way of understanding the world and living within it. They become, as it were, filters that direct and affect what our eyes see, how our hearts respond, and what our minds process.

Worldview - you can’t shake it. Even if it’s not written in bold print on your forehead, it’ll be there inside - quietly at work, shaping and directing everything. Sometimes it leaps out, front and centre - like it did for Anthony.

The way you build relationships and form family units - we’ve seen how different worldviews affected that dynamic for Anthony.

The way you relate to the environment - if you are First Nations person, seeing nature as your Mother, from whom you draw life and with whom you need to live in harmony; or as a Western white person, seeing nature as something to be harnessed, conquered and exploited.

How you provide health care - is it something that is an individual’s concern? That’s what the person might say who is raised with the pioneering spirit of America and the shaping influence of the Enlightenment, both of which celebrate the self-reliant individual. Perhaps it is a communal concern; that’s what you will say if you are from a society whose worldview places highest value on community and the group.

Loyalty to the state, and politics - what drove the Kamikazee pilots of the Japanese air force in WWII, or Palestinian Hamas suicide bombers today? Basic filters on how they see life, the world and eternity, shape their actions.

Art - its value and place

Religion, education and the institutions associated with them.

The filters of basic values, principles and priorities - the worldview stuff - affects how all of these areas get acted out.

And when you bring people together who operate with different worldviews, sometimes the same action gets interpreted in totally different ways. Sometimes people can’t understand each other.

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