"ITWNOI" (In This World, Not Of It) - Sho Baraka (lyrics)
This past week I started to think about the name of my blog and how its name was formulated. I intended to keep my blog only to update friends and family of my experiences, as well as what I was learning in my faith. I originally started the blog back in 2009 while preparing for a mission trip to Colombia with an Athletes in Action basketball team. It was a while ago, and I've never felt like changing it, even as I began to write more of my thoughts. It's probably a good thing in the end. It's a good reminder of my standing in this world.
As time has gone on, I've included thoughts about athletics, rap music, the Christian faith, and mostly urban planning in Houston. Within the last couple of months I have had many blog posts linked to a variety of planning and development websites, and circulated on social media. It's been a great reminder about the call that Christians have as being on this earth.
The term "Not of It" came from John 17 where Jesus is praying his High Priestly Prayer. Some may also familiar with the phrase "Not of This World", which is also a popular "Christian clothing and retail brand, offering an alternative to the mainstream consumer goods." In his prayer Jesus tells the Father that "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." What he means is that his followers find satisfaction in their relationship with Him and the Father, and not simply in things, accomplishments and relationships in this world.
At Sojourn, we just finished a three-week series entitled "One - A Sojourn Collective Vision Series", highlighting God's vision for the world. We covered most of John 17, covering one gospel, one church, and one mission. We don't just sit idle waiting for these things to unite. We are called to be agents of reconciliation and are actually sent into the world, just to "not be of it." And, we best model our faith, share the gospel and become a family in the setting of everyday life. We're not isolated. We're sent into this world to be moms, dads, friends, family, lawyers, doctors, teachers, artists, and even urban planners with the call to share our faith in one redeeming gospel, be part of one loving church, and be agents of one glorifying mission.