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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stay away from evil... right?

Warning: This is a conceptual post in which I essentially think out loud.  This is something I'd talk about with my close friends, and, most of them are back in the States right now, but I still want to talk about these things.  I would love for you guys to add to the discussion in the comments.

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Stay away from evil.
...Right?

Well, okay, okay.
Stay away from evil, yes, but away from evil people?  No.
Is that better?
Not good enough?
How about we just stay away from the appearance of evil then.
We can hang out with whomever we want (or whomever we think needs Jesus), but we can't look like we're actually doing what they're doing.   How's that?

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Here I tell you about the first principle of mine that's been challenged while living here in Korea.

When I came to Korea, I was prepared for the culture shock that was sure to come.  I have never lived in Asia before, I have never even lived in a city before, and I have never been a teacher before.  But I was ready.  Strangely enough, I've had hardly any adjustment, it's as if I've slipped right into a location I was made for.  Yeah, I wish I knew the language so I could communicate well, but there's hand motions and dictionaries for that.  (And I've started Korean lessons!)
I would boldly say that Korea hasn't given me any culture shock.  No, it's actually come from the foreigners at work.

I grew up in a very sheltered, nurturing Christian environment.  I've been enrolled in a Christian school for all but three years of my sixteen years of education.  I've worked with some unbelievers at a pizza shop and at an office supplies store, but that was only up to eight hours a day, and most of my time was spent with customers or pizza dough, anywhere.

Then I moved here.

The 16 of us foreign teachers live in the same neighborhood.  We hang out with each other all the time.  We live together, two by two.  Daniel and I will have been in the same apartment for two months this weekend.  We eat together, we drink together, we go to norebong together, and we have out-of-town adventures together.  I'm with these people almost as much as I was with my college friends back in the dorm days.

These people are different than the folks I've been around before.  They do, say, believe, and laugh at very different things.

I love them.  In fact, I like them.  I enjoy their company.  They enjoy mine (from what I gather).  We hang out at the bars.  We talk about whatever.  We discuss where life comes from.
This is the opposite of what I used think I was supposed to do.

I knew we were supposed to evangelize to unbelievers, and I later found out we were supposed to develop relationships with them, but am I supposed to go to the bars with them?

In her conventionality shattering post "Grace Runs," Alece Ronzino details Jesus' experiences with the appearances of evil.
(Since that post was the inspiration for my own, I suggest/ask/implore you to read it.  It's excellent.)

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What do you think?

2 comments:

  1. It depends on how you define evil.

    Jesus stepped into the boats of the fishermen, went to the house of tax collectors (considered evil and despicable in those days), spoke with prostitues ...

    ... it's about stepping into their lives, spending time with them in their world.

    Jesus was loved by people for being relational. Think about it - why else was Jesus invited to a wedding? :)

    All I can say is this: Guard your heart, know your limits, and most of all, remember: being born in Macdonalds does not make you a hamburger.

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  2. Thank you for the wise words. I know exactly what you mean, I just forgot to include them in the post. Thanks for catching it for us!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts! If there is something you want me to respond to specifically, feel free to send me an email; I'd love to chat.