Sunday, November 05, 2006

Minority Report

Peace and blessings,

Before I get into this piece, I wanted to start off with the scripture that some brothas and I were discussing that inspired me to write on this topic.

"11Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

13Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,

15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the [a]firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness [b]produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.(A)

16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of [c]saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit [d]wields, which is the Word of God.

18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people)."

-Ephesians 6:11-18 (Amplified Bible)

In our discussion, we focused on the idea of putting on God's armor, especially when it comes to us leading others to Christ. We talked about a couple of situations in which we feel compelled to as well as struggle with spreading the truth and Gospel of Jesus Christ. On an individual level we talked about situations where we have one-on-one relationships with people (e.g. friends, family, others, etc...) who for whatever reason do not believe in God and/or that Jesus Christ died for our sins and resurrected. On a social level, we talked about situations where we may be (or feel as if we are) the only Christian in a particular situation (e.g. classroom, etc...).

In social psychology, there has been a lot of research on the various contexts in which people are more or less likely to influence others. When I originally thought of the idea of influence, I thought it usually occured in two situations. One situation is where the person being influenced is in a close, trusting relationship with someone they consider to be an important figure in their life (e.g. child-parent, mentee-mentor, student teacher, etc...). In this situation, the person being influenced most likely assumes that the person they are learning from has their best interests at heart. The other situation I thought about was where the minority is influenced by the majority. This type of influence occurs often, for example there are times where I get interested or involved in an issue or cause primarily because it affects and concerns the majority of people.

Although these forms of influence tend to be more common and visibile, I learned about an idea in social psycholgy known as minority influence. According to this concept, there are situations where ordinary individuals can exert influence over a group or social context. While attending Pentecostal Tabernacle in Cambridge, MA, the pastor would always emphasize the importance of a shared purpose and destiny. In one sermon that continues to stick with me to this day, he emphasized that as Christians we are all leaders. Further, he said that we are constantly surrounded by people who for whatever reason, are not communicating with and/or do not have a relationship with God. Therefore, these individuals are depending on us to pray to God on their behalf (i.e. to intercede).

Understanding this, and also considering this idea of minority influence, the question then arises: How do we as Christians exert godly influence (i.e. be a light) on others and our surrounding situations when in those situations we are(or at least we perceive to be)a minority? I think the best way to answer this is to refer to the abovementioned scripture, which talks about the importance of equipping ourselves with and utlizing the full armor of God (e.g. truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, scripture) through prayer. Ultimatley, any influence we exert is not by our own doing, but only through the works of God through us. Therefore, we must constantly stay "prayed-up" so that we can be light in ever situation, environment, and relationship we find ourselves in. Below are a couple of clips of the "Matrix" and "Matrix:reloaded," because I think that the whole idea behind the Matrix relates closely to this idea of the minority having the power to exert influence over the majority. Plus, I think everything can pretty much be explained by the Matrix Trilogy, lol. Take care, and please share your thoughts. Speekonit...


Anonymous said...

Man, you really touch on a very important issue we face as Christians. I agree with you 100% about the our responsibily to be leaders and to speak life. All throughout the New Testament Jesus displayed leadership in uncanny ways often ministering in somewhat of a backwards approach. As a believer, we have that same duty.
We live in a spiritual world and as you mentioned, "we must stay prayed up." We are constantly in a battle and the the Gospel is our armor and protection. I think of the phrase, "The WORD is mightier than the SWORD" because in the battle we are fighting, the WORD is and should be the weapon of choice.

2:51 PM

Unknown said...

Yeah, that's real. His leadership was very "unconditional," and it always reflected a genuine love for people. Thanks for the comment and support.