Stirring the Pot

Stirring the PotWords fascinate me. While reading a variation of Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy, I found this: stir up that inner fire that God gave you… (Other translations say fan into flame, keep alive, rekindle.) Many recipes use that word “stir” so I went to an internet cooking expert to better understand the reasons to stir:

  • To create a homogenous mixture
  • To evenly disperse temperature
  • To alter the viscosity of a liquid (thicker or thinner)

As we’ve celebrated recent family birthdays and one comes quickly for me, I’ve been thinking about the purpose of stirring up, fanning into flame, keeping alive and rekindling as that activity relates to the spiritual life of those “of a certain age.” Too often I observe that we apply Paul’s word primarily to young people as we encourage them to mature in their Christian experience, although we seem to apply to all ages his subsequent words about how God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love an self-discipline. Is there something about this “stirring” that applies to us all? And if so, what does it look like? (I’m already seeing that this subject will drift into more than one blog!)

How can we—especially those of us who have lived long and hopefully well—stir ourselves to “create a homogenous, i.e., of one kind, consistent, indistinguishable, mixture” in God’s Kingdom? (Homogenous isn’t a totally accurate word to use in this context, but it’s close enough.) Recently I’ve been uncomfortably reading a current issue of Conversations Journal which discusses the subject of race relations. Actually, this discomfort has been a companion since last summer when I listened to Dr. Christena Cleveland’s bold and challenging lectures on this topic. Not sure where, how, when or why God is nudging me…

There’s no doubt that it’s still sadly true that one hour on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour in America. But God calls us to make both institutional and personal changes. Did I physically ache as much when I read of the Charleston killings as I did on that 9/11 Tuesday morning? Why? Why not? Whose “side” did I instinctively take when I heard news of the killing of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012? Is it easier for me to say “killing” or “murder”? When I see a young black teen with his inevitable hoodie walking toward me on the sidewalk, what are my instinctive thoughts and actions? Do I relish relationships with my Tanzanian, Mongolian, Zambian friends but draw the line at pursuing (pursuing) relationships with African-Americans? Just asking…

If I’m not willing to be stirred in this area in this life, if I’m unwilling to sit next to, eat with, share life with those of skin unlike my own, I wonder how comfortable I’ll be reigning with “members of every tribe and language and people and nation” in God’s glorious future? Yes, I fully understand that in that day I’ll have been transformed into someone more like Jesus, but maybe I should begin practicing now for the future? Just asking…

(I told you this would take more than one blog!)


One thought on “Stirring the Pot

  1. Thank You Marilyn for your wise comments once again. I actually don’t feel comfortable unless I am living in an area that white is the minority. That comes from my many years living overseas with a diversity of many nations represented where we lived. I am thankful now to live with many hues of beige, brown and black.


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