Brad Sargent on The Good News
This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Brad’s local city newspaper is The Marin IJ (The Marin Independent Journal). Here is Brad Sargent on the Good News, in which he entitles – Easter and Accessibility for All.
THE GOOD NEWS
If you distilled into one question the essence in most of my lifelong spiritual quests, this is it: “How could we create an ’intercultural world’ where each person and group is valued – even while we cannot automatically accept everything as good (since there is such a thing as evil, after all)?”
I’ve discovered one ironic truth about the magnetism of such a pursuit, and it’s two-pronged: Some of our best lessons shape by what repulses us, and some by what attracts us; either can move us forward in our journey. I’ve experienced both in my search for a world where differences become appreciated because they express the complex image of our Creator.
I know what it’s like to be excluded for being different – skinny, smarty, geeky, gawky. I never did fit the standard expectations, and all-too-frequent experiences of being marginalized pushed me toward a fierce defense of human dignity. I advocate the importance of accepting people right where they are instead of rejecting them because they aren’t where I or we or society thinks they should be.
Other experiences pulled me toward connected convictions. Cultural diversity fascinated me early on, and by second grade I declared archaeology as my future career. I made friends with some members of almost every social group during high school, and have always had at least a few international friends during most of my adult life. Those different from myself help me to grow.
I’ve sought to practice bridge-building toward the intercultural world I’ve hoped for, and I delight when I serendipitously discover it elsewhere – which I did at recent Easter services. At a friend’s church, I met a multicultural and multiracial mix of singles, couples, and children. This included natives, immigrants, and students who hail from homelands on any of five continents.
This reminded me how the power in Christ’s Easter-time resurrection from the dead, after redeeming us from our sin and our selfishness, completes a Christmas-time promise God made. Delivered by an angel to a group of everyday workers â€¦ shepherds â€¦ this global message was designed for fulfillment to all:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:8-11, New International Version)
What is that “good news of great joy”? In part, accessibility for people from all places, races, and spaces to relate with our Creator through Jesus Christ. Through Him, there is the possibility of intercultural common ground that transcends all possible human barriers of inherent characteristics and culture, political and economic systems, position and privilege or its lack.
This zone can neither be created by legislation, nor stopped thereby. We can hope for it and help form it along the way – even with all our flaws, because God-empowered personal and cultural transformation can bring it about. Now, that’s a good-news message I can get behind and don’t mind putting forward!
|Brad’s business card proclaims him as a “Superhero Sidekick” who helps people identify, validate, amplify, and activate their superpowers – and, hopefully, not distribute their supercrud on others. He pays the bills through freelance editing, but his passions are spiritual formation and “intercultural systems design.” In 2010 he will complete a 15-year-long project: an original curriculum on interpreting and integrating issues of personhood, cultures, futures, and organizational systems. This will be useful for church planting, social entrepreneurship, and church leadership transitions. Brad lives in Northern California, where the local newspaper is the Marin IJ.|