The Importance of a Growing Worldview
Reading Lyons article, “The Upheaval,” and Solzhenitsyn’s “Men Have Forgotten God” speech, I am challenged to consider, what value does a geopolitical framework provide Christians in engaging the world?
Lyons argues that we are living in a time of “epochal change” in which at least three revolutions have impacted the world. One is a geopolitical revolution in that our world is seemingly becoming smaller and more interconnected. Whereas regional conflict that was once contained, at least to a degree, is no longer the case as an event in one location can have massive implications for the rest of the world. One example of this would be the economic inflation of the US and the implications our struggling economy has had on the rest of the world. A second revolution is on ideology, such as cancel culture, wokeness, social justice, and the like. Lyons writes, “whatever its name, what’s clear by this point is that this all-consuming new belief system is exceptionally zealous, insatiably revolutionary, self-righteousness brutal, and going ideologically viral with breathtaking speed and essentially no opposition.” Finally, the third revolution is technological, the advancement of a digital world, which Lyons suggests is moving us into a post-truth era.
Solzhenitsyn’s speech delivered in May of 1983 is an eerily prophetic call that holds as much truth in 2023 as when it was first delivered. Born and raised in Russia, Solzhenitsyn began to speak out against the brutalities of Stalin after serving as an officer in WWII. Reflecting on what led to this development of Russia, Solzhenitsyn plainly stated, “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Not only did men forget about God, but they had grown accustomed to this kind of world. This reminds me of 1 Peter 2:11, which says, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” Solzhenitsyn does not blame any system or government, but instead says that the real problem was perpetuated by human nature, within every individual. Yet, though Stalin sought to stamp out religion, there was “something they did not expect: that in a land where churches have been leveled, where triumphant atheism has rampaged uncontrolled for two-thirds of a century, where the clergy is utterly humiliated and deprived of all independence … they could not suppose that beneath the Communist steamroller the Christian tradition would survive in Russia.” There was, and is, hope! No matter how great the attack of Communism, “it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.”
In considering what value a geopolitical framework provides Christians, I am challenged by Lyons, who states:
No matter where we live in the world, then, it would be wise for us to think carefully about the global chaos that is only beginning to consume us all. What is happening? Why is it happening? Where are we headed? What, if anything, can and should we do, individually and collectively?
This assignment has demonstrated the importance for me to more seriously consider how I can continue to grow in my geopolitical awareness. If I am honest, I would say this has not been a priority of mine in the past. This is not to say that I have fully neglected the topic, but that there is much room for improvement. Here are a few practices or considerations:
- For the past 10+ years, I have been a regular subscriber and reader of World Magazine. One author of particular interest to me has been Mindy Belz. While she no longer works for World, she continues to provide a weekly newsletter called Globe Trot. I just signed up for this, so I can’t speak to whether it is a helpful newsletter, but I imagine it will be.
- I take five minutes each morning to read a daily newsletter from Morning Brew. While these new points don’t go into great depth, it at least provides me a snapshot of pertinent events primarily focused on the US.
- Most every evening, I read the BBC, giving particular attention to world affairs, especially within the Middle East and Central Asia as my interest lies in working with Muslims.
- Another suggestion I was given was from a friend who lives and works in Central Asia. He highly recommended the New York Times and several independent journalists he follows on Instagram who work in Afghanistan, Ira, Ukraine, and Palestine.
I look forward to what my colleagues use to grow and expand their worldview!
 N. S. Lyons, “The Upheaval,” Substack newsletter, The Upheaval, April 7, 2021, accessed October 4, 2022, https://theupheaval.substack.com/p/the-upheaval.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update.
 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “Remembering Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Men Have Forgotten God’ Speech,” National Review, December 11, 2018, accessed October 4, 2022, https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/aleksandr-solzhenitsyn-men-have-forgotten-god-speech/.
 Lyons, “The Upheaval.”
9 responses to “The Importance of a Growing Worldview”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Eric: I also think about how much time and energy I should give to reading and understanding the geopolitical shifts happening everywhere in the world. There are only so many hours in a day and I have responsibilities here with my work, school, church. If I wanted to, I could spend 8 hours a day reading about international affairs, politics, economics so I could feel ‘informed.’ Maybe this is why blogs like Lyons have become so popular, they distill ideas and events down into smaller digestible bits so I can still have time to live my life.
Eric, there are some great resources here that I haven’t spent much time with. After thumbing through the ones you listed, I’ve expanded my reading list.
Eric, great summary and takeaway from the reading. What specific benefit will you receive in your current role after growing a geopolitical awareness? Thanks for the heads-up on some good sources to engage.
Great question. I think it will be the same, in some regards, but also I am sure that I will need to have more awareness of the national challenges we face as I will be working with organizations across the US. There is a chance that I will do some work internationally too, though right now that will be quite limited. However, it will be important that I am familiar with those events in those places I will be working.
Eric: Great resources to add to my list – thank you. I’m interested in your work with interns over the years if you’ve had intentional mentorship towards geopolitical engagement and awareness and if so, how. This has not been something I have pressed into with my student population and I’m trying to navigate how to do so.
Great question. Yes, we have used Scripture to inform what I call our worldview through a Kingdom lens. We do this through: 1) the discipleship material I have written over the years, looking at Scripture and how it informs us how we are to live as disciples of Jesus; 2) we have interns take the Perspectives class (a 15-week course on God’s heart for the nations); 3) we read a variety of books that challenge not only our discipleship, but our worldview and understanding of God’s heart for the nations (and Kingdom to come); and 4) we take interns overseas, most always to the 10/40 window.
Eric thank you for your honestly.
When we heard from Rev Boesk who said we should stop reading the news, how did you respond?
Honestly, I vaguely remember that. However, I would disagree. I believe it is important to be informed, at least aware, however, I do agree with the statement in that Scripture provides the answers we need.
Great post. It was very clear and capsulized the essence of the assignment well. I look forward to exploring your sources.