Why I won’t insulate my sons (or myself) from “the world”

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

I grew up in a conservative, Mennonite tradition. Acapella hymns on hard, wooden benches. Church, three times a week. A fortnight of Bible School in the summer (a true delight), and the annual week of revival meetings with “Just As I Am” and tearful trips to the altar with admonitions for holiness and purity.

Looking back, my life was comprised of do’s and don’ts. Do (attend church, read your Bible, say your prayers). Do (dress like this, finish your chores, fill out your quarterly). Don’t (dress like that, go to movies, wear jewelry, or dance like nobody or everybody’s watching). Don’t (drink alcohol, cuss, or tell a fib).

Just don’t. But yet, do.

I was terrified. Afraid of “the world.” Afraid of other people and their disapproval. Afraid of somehow “getting it wrong.” Afraid, most of all, of God. How hellish. What torment. How sad.

Now, all these years later, I know that I know that I know that God is my true and perfect father. I know Jesus is my big brother and gentle shepherd. I know the Holy Spirit is my real-time, on-time counselor and friend. And I know that I love other people.

I know that I could not give what I did not have. For as long as I was afraid of others, I could not fully love them. As long as I was afraid of God, I could not fully trust Him. As long as I was afraid (at all), my light was significantly dimmed, witness hindered.

I’m not afraid of “the world” anymore. I’m not scared of folks who are different. I’m no longer in fear of “not getting it right,” for Jesus has already done it. He’s gotten it right…for me. For you.

That’s why I choose to go out into the world; why I enter hard, unlikely places. Why I walk straight into the mess and the pain, and I love the folks that I find.

Prostitutes. Homosexuals. Young people. Old people. Sick people. Sad people. High and tormented and out-of-their-minds people. I see them, I touch them, I love them…

Because I have it to give.

This is why I will not insulate my sons from the world. This is why I don’t keep them or shelter them from everything frightening or different. There’s a lost and lonely world that needs what we hold in our hands. Who need Christ.

We weren’t called to play it safe. We weren’t called to isolate. Not called to insulate or subjugate. We were called to something far different, far more.

“Go!” Jesus said it. “Go into all the world and make disciples.”


Not, “Play it safe.” Not, “Stay in your holy huddle.” Not, “Avoid the world and its sinners like the plague.” He didn’t say that.

“Occupy until I come.”That’s what He said, and so I do.

We can be fully in the world, but not of it. That is the mighty power of Christ in us. That is our treasure in these jars of clay. When His perfect love is operating within us, we are fearless, and we have something real to give.

Perfect love. Perfect peace. Perfect joy. Perfect hope, and we carry it wherever we go. So do our sons.

Warmly, as always,



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *