Carl just sent us a letter, where his generous spirit shines through and teaches us something about relating to those who are not just like we are. He writes this:
"I just spent two days with 9 guys from around the Middle East studying the scripture. Most were Muslim - a couple Christians and one, well, I’m not sure what he is. I did a sort of “Walk through the Bible Carl style.” Genesis to Revelation. And then we spent several hours going through the five key things Jesus calls us all to do. Fun stuff. Actually about as good as it gets.
As you know, the key paradigm for the whole of the Bible is the Kingdom of God. It’s what Jesus preached from the beginning of his life to the end, and it’s the scaffolding that holds up the entire biblical narrative. One of the most powerful, but often confusing, principles of the Kingdom is the idea of “it’s here now, but not fully.” The Kingdom of God was announced by Jesus throughout his three years of ministry, then enacted by Jesus through his deeds (mainly miracles), and finally established by Jesus on the cross and through the resurrection. The Kingdom of God has come fully to earth.
However, you may have noticed that life isn’t always very “Kingdom-ish.” We suffer and have pain. We get sick and we face horrible disappointments. The Kingdom that is here now won’t be completely realized until the King makes all things new. In the meantime, our posture is to be grateful. Thankful. Appreciative of what we’ve been given and even rejoicing in the various trials that we face on a daily basis. That’s hard stuff. But it’s the reality of our lives in a Kingdom of the now and not quite yet. And it’s the way of Jesus that brings joy and fulfillment.
So this Thanksgiving (and if you’re not a Yankee, you can still be thankful, just for fun) - choose gratitude."