Are We a Christian Ghetto?
By Fenny Wibowo - November 1999
The word “Ghetto” came from Venetian word “geto” (pron, je-tto), indicating the site of a metal foundry. This word used by the German Jews to the area of settlement for the Jews in the 16th century. The first area assigned to the Jews was called “Ghetto Novo” (New Ghetto) probably because there was a new foundry there. It was developed to protect them initially. It also served to preserves their cultural, social, and religious heritage. They have their own way of dressing, their kind of food, their way of relating, etc. Basically they create a wall around them. It would be very difficult from people outside their ghetto to be accepted also.
Let’s take a moment to look at our
community, ICF. Are we considered ourselves as a ghetto? Or do we
act or think as a ghetto? That we actually make people go away because of
our action. We only spend most of our time with friends who share same
hobbies, like the same food, enjoy certain music, etc. Have we heard
people saying that we are 'off' that we keep people away from making friendship
For us, we may have unrealistic view of the world. We can be completely out of touch with the real issue in our contemporary world. Here what Chuck Colson wrote: "What's at work here, I'm afraid, is a ghetto mentality. Christian readers only by Christian books, written by Christian authors, written in Christian language, produced by Christian publishing houses, sold by Christian bookstores. We no longer seem to care that we are out of the mainstream! But that's no way to influence our culture."
In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul wrote,
"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so
that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to
those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the
Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without
law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law
of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I
became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so
that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel,
so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. "
In John 15:19, Jesus said that we are chosen
to be out of the world, because we are not of the world. But also in John
17:18, as the Father sent Jesus into the world, Jesus have sent us into the
world. So certainly we are not become the world, but we want to influence
the world. If we want to make impact to the world, it won't work with
disclosing ourselves from interaction with the world.
It is very encouraging to see several of our brothers and sisters in ICF have recognized this need to tear down their own walls and have done something about it. It does need our extra efforts and creativity, and the wisdom and strength from God.
Let’s not let ourselves get stuck in a
Christian ghetto. Let’s get 'unstuck'!