This Spiritual Warfare Lullaby was written here in Phnom Penh, after talking with some friends who were experiencing some intense and scary nights. Many thanks to Nashville musician, Hetty, for her voice and guitar talents!
My hope is that these lyrics, excerpted from Psalm 23, Psalm 91, 1 John 4, and Romans 8, would bring deep peace and rest to the people of God, scattered around the world.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ Jesus
Thieves steal. Sometimes the impact is NOW; you know it immediately and you feel it deeply. Other times, it takes some time; the bomb’s on a delay. And then it blows and you begin to realize all that was taken. All the time lost, the lives shattered, the relationships fractured. It feels like the wind gets knocked right out of you and you can’t even tell if the crater in your soul feels like anger or sadness or some other concoction of pain. But it’s definitely pain.
Sometimes the thief steals stuff, but often it’s more. Much more.
Maybe the thief looked like a robber on the back of a moto, or a home invader. Maybe the thief was a corrupt government, stealing freedom, opportunities, and futures. Maybe the thief was a cruel family member, or someone from your church or mission, a “friend.”
Whoever they were, they stole, they destroyed, and they killed. Or at least they tried.
Growing up, I watched my mom and dad interact as equals, with each other and with their friends.
I loved watching my mom’s eyes flash with intellectual fire as she discoursed with others about theology or how to define (and practice) radical obedience. I loved her sweet smile as she pondered the red geraniums outside her window, often while nursing a baby.
I loved scratching the dirt in the fall, at her direction, planting the blobs she called bulbs. And then I loved watching her eagerness as we looked for the first hint of spring: the brave but tiny crocuses, deciding that their appearance would be more surprising if they poked through a crust of snow.
I am a man, but I learned much about manhood from a woman.
And so I want to say I’m sorry.
I’m not sorry I’m a guy, but I am sorry that a bunch of my sisters have been mistreated by guys, both in the church and out of it.
A Brother’s Apology
I’m sorry that, instead of really hearing the devastating echoes of #metoo, we sat silent, sometimes scared, shuddering for all the innocent men who’ve been falsely accused. Not only was our response statistically absurd, it was also staggeringly unempathetic. I am so sorry.
I’m sorry we’ve treated you as if you were, all of you, The Great Temptress, hatching plots to take us down. I’m sorry we’ve been afraid to speak to you, afraid to have an actual friendship with you. Unless we were dating you or married to you, we were so afraid of what things would look like that we never actually looked at you. And so we missed you. We missed seeing you as the human that you are. We missed your giftings and we robbed ourselves of the opportunity to learn from you. We were mistaken.
We were so insecure, so driven by a deep Adamic fear of being controlled. We forgot the power of the Cross to roll back the curse.
Like any really good assessment, these five categories are totally made up.
There are no peer-reviewed studies parsing these five stages of cross-cultural work. There is no quantified, objective data set; still, please feel free to say you’re in “Stage 3 – Wing 4.” That would make me happy. And remember, if you say anything with exactitude, we’ll all think you know what you’re talking about.
The lines of demarcation between these stages are blurred, and in some cases overlapping. Just roll with it. And remember, this isn’t the Rubicon, so feel free to cross back over to an earlier stage if you’d like.
Are you ready?
We’ll look at the two options within each stage, we’ll list some common statements you might hear from folks taking each option, and then we’ll look at some primary goals for each stage.
This is more Wiki than Webster’s, so please add your thoughts, explanations, arguments, additions, or funny jokes in the comment section.
Idealist/Ignorant – Pre-field
You know the idealist, right? If you’re on the field, you probably were one. Once.
We need the idealist. Often, the idealism of youth or new belief motivates people to the field in the first place; that’s not bad. In fact, idealism is a fantastic place to start; it’s just not a fantastic place to stay.
Idealism is not what’s dangerous; ignorance is.
The main difference here is that the ignorant person doesn’t know what it is that they don’t know. And it’s a lot. The idealist knows they don’t know everything, so they’re safer. The idealist is a day-dreamer, aware of the reality around them, while the ignorant is lost in a fantasy dream world at night, unaware that their sick child is vomiting in the bathroom down the hall and their wife has been up three times already and the dog just peed on the clean laundry. Yeah, ignorance is dangerous.
Things you might hear the idealist say:“This is all so amazing! God’s going to do amazing, new, prophetic things in this glorious season of fresh wind. He is calling the nations to himself and he’s calling me to the nations. Will you donate?”
Things you might hear the ignorant say:“I don’t need a sending church or org or agency. I read a book and I feel super called! Also, I served a person once on a short-term trip and now I’m going to save the world. Will you donate?”
Goals for this stage:
Don’t be ignorant.
Protect your ideals, while purposefully listening to the reality of some who’ve gone before you. You’re not the first person God’s called across cultures, and you won’t be the last.