Do I dare venture outside my chosen spiritual tradition? Can we learn something from others so different from ourselves? These questions challenged me as I began reading a book called “A Sense of Place” with Michael Shapiro. As I read his interviews with great travel writers, I was surprised that the writer that most impacted me was Pico Iyer, born of Indian parents, although he never lived in India. He was educated in England, has lived for over forty years in America, and now lives six months of the year in Japan.
Mr. Iyer eloquently describes what it is like to be a global human being: someone who is at home anywhere and yet has no “home” of his own. When I was growing up, people held the same jobs for 20 or 30 years. Recently, I read that the average person in America goes through three major career changes in their lifetimes; that does not include the actual number of positions held. My in-laws had lived in the same house for seventy years! We live in a different world today.
Reading Mr. Iyer’s story comforted me. I could relate to his love of travel, discovery of new places, and his transient journey through life. And yet it also confronted me with the narrow confines of “my world.” What did I think would happen if I read the work of a non-Christian author? Would I lose my faith or fall into deception? Where does that fear come from? How can we share God’s love with others if we refuse to meet them on their path? Remember how the woman’s life changed (and her whole village!) when Jesus met her in Samaritan territory (John 4:4-42)?
In the end, we are not that different from each other. We all need a Savior.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1).
God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again (John 3:17, The Passion).