Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Is my faith intoxicating?

Written by: on October 7, 2016


Peter Frankopan, an accomplished academic at Oxford, where he is director of the Centre for Byzantine Research, has introduced us to a new path “the Silk Roads.”  He has changed the centre of history to a new path, changing from the historical path, the that is traditionally followed.  He has done this through the timely lens of east-west interaction.  He doesn’t look at things in the way that so many other historians have in the past.   He takes a very long view at the path that so many have followed and retraced.   His belief is that this path through the Mediterranean and western Europe is the real road that led to so many changes and interactions in the world, He writes that it should be recognised as the centre of history.  This makes him a very fresh author with access to a world of knowledge from being at Oxford.   All of the roads that he explores even up to this present time are very revealing how so many things that happen in the world are centered around this geographical location.  I thought his scholarly approach to this was very engaging and brought a whole new perspective for the spread of Christianity as well as another lens to look at the other world religions through.   What a great read especially after just spending the time in London and Oxford.


Christianity has long been associated with the Mediterranean and western Europe.[1] 35.  Part of this had to do with the location of the leadership of the church.  The church was based in Rome, Canterbury and Constantinople.  Rome basically left alone the Christians.  Two things stood out to me as I read through this section of the book.  First was the dream of Constantine.  It seems to mirror the exact same thing that is currently happening in this part of the world for people to become followers of Jesus Christ.

When Constantine made his conversion to Christianity it had to do with his dream.   He saw “ a cross-shaped light” above the sun, together with the Greek words declaring “by this sign, you will conquer.”[2] 41. This dream pointed to an encounter with Jesus Christ who explained to him that the sign of this picture is that it would help him to defeat all his rivals.   I find it fascinating as I am reading through this account that I have not necessary heard this explained like this before but after interacting with our missionaries in the part of the world where conversion to Christianity is a very difficult thing because of the family and life issues that it brings up.  But there are people today who are making the same conversion journey because of dreams of Jesus Christ interacting within their personal world and life journey.    The change that happens within a community when someone has this encounter is marked and leads families to have to choose what they will do.   When Constantine accepted Christ,  it clearly brought a sea of change to the Roman Empire.[3] 41.   Interesting how this one event was such a pivotal moment.   The author takes us on a fascinating journey of this moment in Christianity.   After spending time as we did in Christ Church and hearing of the incredible endowments that the whole operation functions off of it brought a whole new view on this thought from our book.

“As resources were lavished on supporting Christianity across the empire, Jerusalem was singled out for massive building works, complete with extravagant endowments.  If Rome and Constantinople were administrative centres of the empire, Jerusalem was the spiritual heart.”[4] 42.  This picture reminds me of Oxford.   But just as this was the beginning of the mark of Christianity there is history that lets us know that this didn’t continue.  It was not sustained.


Syria is such a focus of our attention in the world right now.  I heard in every service that I attended from Hillsong London, to Westminster Abbery, and even at Christ Church that there is a need for Christ’s help for Syria.   As I was exploring and reading Silk Roads I found it fascinating that this one part of the world from the very beginning has rejected Christianity and Nazarenes. They were even deported by Shapur I.[5] (35) He accelerated a hostile reaction to Christian thought and ideas brought by merchants and be prisoners resettled in Persian territory after being deported from Syria.[6] (35)

One thought that jumped off the page to me in the middle of this report of the conflict between Syria and it’s leaders and Christianity was these simple words.  These new teachings were intoxicating and dangerous.  Interesting!!  Is our faith or our belief “intoxicating?”  I wrote all over the margins on this page.  What have I presented or written or maybe even spoken that was intoxicating to those who heard it?   That they wanted more of it because it affected their future and their present.   I was so challenged by this book about this one simple thought.   Christ followers have been hunted down, killed, persecuted and so many more things because there is a quality and substance to this faith that causes reaction.   It causes severe reaction and as I was reading through this I was challenged to consider what form of the gospel of Christ do I present.   One that is so passive or one that is considered dangerous or intoxicating.   I believe after hearing Steve Chalke speak, that his message of hope and how they are delivering it has an intoxicating factor to it.   Hearing about adoption and how Krish Kandiah is doing ministry, it has that intoxicating factor.    How do I get to a place that my ministry and what I am taking on has the same factors and feel?   I have been challenged to focus in on the things that really matter and would make a difference to the “world.”


Last thoughts.  Let my journey of following Christ included dreams of what is possible and the passion that makes it intoxicating to those who hear the message and want to follow.   Let my passion and my drive to follow him override my fears and help me to stay above the toxic pool of complacency.   I want to make this type of difference in my world.



[1] Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World,  New York, Alfred A Knope, 2015, 35.

[2] Ibid., 41.

[3] Ibid., 41.

[4] Ibid., 42.

[5] Ibid., 35.

[6] Ibid., 35.

About the Author


Kevin Norwood

My name is Kevin Norwood and I have been in youth ministry for the past 34 years. On February 14th, 1994, 27 years ago, we moved to Owasso OK and wow what a ride. My wife, Ann, is an RN and specializes in Clinical Documentation working from home. Maci is a my 21 year old daughter and she loves and shows horses. Her horse's name is Charlie. She is currently working with animals and loves to go on trail rides with her horse. London is my 10 year old son and he keeps me young. He absolutely loves life!! Golfing, baseball and Hawaii is his latest adventures. He skied for the first time in Colorado this year. I have started a coaching business for pastors at www.kevinnorwood.com and it is exciting the doors that God is opening. I earned my Doctorate in Leadership and Global Perspectives from George Fox on Feb 10, 2018.

6 responses to “Is my faith intoxicating?”

  1. Marc Andresen says:


    It’s obvious from what and how you wrote that the combination of England and Frankopan has really stirred you. It seems this is a stirring from a combination of academia and personal stories of vision becoming real in the world (Chalke and Kandiah). And you challenge us as to contagious nature of our own walks with Christ.

    Do you have any early ideas of how to sustain this passion and work for any change that you sense is necessary in your own life?

    • Kevin Norwood says:


      As I was listening to both of these gentleman and also Martyn Percy, they had a passion for what they are doing that transcended the setting of academic lecture. They had a real drive and purpose to fulfil their part of the great commission. It all looks different but the passion and drive to take it to the people and have them come a long on the journey is really infectious. I would go on the journey with them and I would bet the people who work with them are intoxicated with the end result that they are a part of. Yes I am inspired.

  2. Aaron Cole says:


    Great blog! I can tell this book really effected you. I too think there are so many parallels from this book to today. What is a way that we as suburban pastor/leaders can live and lead with this level of intensity and passion?


    • Kevin Norwood says:

      After listening to those who were in the trenches in England, I would go with them on their journey. Their passion for Christ and for seeing life change was very evident in their language and their actions. So I would say that our pulpit personality has to be matched and paired with our walking through the crowd personality. Can I inspire people to go with me ? I believe each of us has the opportunity where we are planted to make that kind of impact. I never want my passion to run out. It is what has made this youth pastor journey fresh for the past 30 years….

      Hope you day and tomorrow are incredible as you too influence your community to accept and know Christ…..see you are already doing what I am talking about.


  3. Claire Appiah says:

    Thanks. You brought forth the most relevant aspect of Silk Roads for Christian leadership and ministry. After all is said and done by scholars, leaders and others, the main thing is can our Christian witness be characterized as being intoxicating and dangerous? You have truly inspired me with your passion, readiness, and obedience to serve to the utmost in accordance with God’s leading. I especially echo your Spirit inspired statement, “Let my passion and my drive to follow him override my fears and help me stay above the toxic pool of complacency. I want to make this type of difference in my world.” The consolation is this is God’s will and only He will bring it into fruition.

  4. Hi Kevin. Nice writing. I too noticed that everyone mentioned Syria. It made me question why I don’t hear more about Syria in U.S. church circles. Have you found this to be true as well?
    You close with a prayer to not be complacent. Does this book help you to achieve this?

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