On Monday, Mar. 14th, at Summit, we had our first GCM Equip, a teaching time focused on equipping leaders at Summit to think through and apply our three core values of Gospel, Community & Mission. We heard from Derek Hiebert, a professor at Western Theological Seminary, who taught and discussed with us a powerful perspective on discipleship!
In The Weight of Glory, CS Lewis wrote “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal."
This idea was on display as Derek led us through the principles of worldview-based discipleship. Everyone of us has a unique story. Who we are as people is a composite, made up of so many factors. Our upbringing, our socio-economic status, our relationships, the countries, regions, and towns we live in, almost every single thing we encounter and interact with shapes us and all of our perspectives and perceptions to varying degrees. This is called a worldview.
As Derek taught, it’s helpful to think about worldview as the lens we see and experience everything through. How is it possible that four different people can look at the same painting, or hear the same song, or witness the same event, and come away with four drastically different impressions as to what it was they were observing? The answer is that no one sees anything exactly as it is.
Each person brings opinions, impressions, biases, and prejudices to everything, which inevitably shapes the way they experience things. Why do some people prefer one type of music, while others revile it? While there might be some neurological reasons, there are certainly worldview reasons. Our preferences might be based on those of our friends or parents, or the messages we receive about the cultural connotation of different musical genres. All of our senses are filtered through our worldview.
You have definitely experienced worldview in action, maybe without even knowing it. The lens analogy is very appropriate because, as any person with glasses will tell you, you’re not often even aware that you’re seeing things through them.
Here are some examples to help illustrate and explain:
-A friend of mine grew up in a home where there was not always enough food for everyone. Now, even though he always has plenty to eat, when we share a meal, he is often very guarded and terse. He holds his arm around his plate, eats quickly and says very little. Before I knew the story behind his behavior, I assumed he was just bad dinner company. After understanding the experiences that shaped the way he sees the world, I saw that what I needed to do was change my expectations of what a meal would be like with this friend and enjoy other types of socializing.
-When I was young, my dad always fixed anything he could, rather than paying someone else to fix it or replacing it. He was particularly skilled with auto mechanics. I never really considered that there were kids with dads who did not do this. When I was maybe 10, I was at a friend’s house and his dad said that he was taking their car in for an oil change. I was totally befuddled! Looking back now, it seems obvious. There are places you can take a car to get the oil changed; someone must be taking their car there. At the time though, it really didn’t occur to me that my experience and understanding of how things work might be, in some ways, particular to me; and that conversely, other people have very different assumptions on how life and the world works.
These are just a couple of examples, but I hope it helps you see how a person’s story radically affects the way they see the world, other people, and everything else.
Next week we will attempt to answer the critical question: Why is this important to discipleship?