So yesterday we looked at the opening of 1 Peter. Now, into the verse:
Peter addresses his letter to "those who reside as aliens in " and goes on to list several Roman provinces. They're all in what is now Turkey, but we'll leave geography for the present time. Instead, what about residing as aliens?
The first thing that comes to my mind, having been raised in the Star Wars/Star Trek era is, of course, ALIENS!! You know, critters from another planet. Whether benign ones like ET or bad ones like the Borg. Aliens. Sometimes like Vulcans, sometimes Klingons. Sometimes Wookiees or Jawas or Gungans or….well, you get the picture. Hopefully. If not, go watch Star Wars and take in the cantina scene. That's aliens. Watch Star Trek VI and see the clash of cultures. The fact is that aliens stick out, because they don't belong. They have their own rules of conduct, manner of dress, and language. They even have their own dietary requirements!
The next thing about aliens is our current national debate about immigration. Typically, alien is used in conjunction with illegal, though the term is a legal term for any non-citizen. People on the right-side (right as opposed to left) are concerned that the flood of aliens causes these problems: they won't live like us, they won't speak our language, and if they keep coming, they will turn our entire nation into one just like their home culture.
Finally, the whole context of alien makes me think of various movie encounters with aliens. Rarely is anyone the same of encountering an alien. Whether it's Lonestar encountering Yogurt (Spaceballs) or Murtaugh and Riggs encountering the Hongs (Lethal Weapon 4), lives are radically different after the interaction.
So what does that mean for us?
If we are aliens in this world, then the same things should be evident in us:
1. A different culture: including language, dress, and priorities. Why should we look just like everyone else and sound like everyone else? We're supposed to be different.
2. A subversive mindset: it ought to be our long-term goal to never assimilate ourselves, but rather to demonstrate by word and deed the value of assimilating to our culture. Note: the culture of following Christ. Not American culture. There's a huge difference that's only getting larger there.
3. A challenging interaction: people that interact with Christians ought to be able to know that they've been with Christians, and ought to be challenged to become like Christ from the encounter. Not be annoyed by Christ. Changed by Christ. There's a pretty important difference there to!
I leave at 5 tomorrow morning for the SBC. I hope to be back online by Sunday afternoon, but no promises. Pray for us. We in the SBC have the most resources of any Evangelical group (I think) that could be used for the Kingdom of God. Instead, we spend a lot of it bickering and on personal empire building. It's got to stop, but this year doesn't look much better.