Reaching out--Drawing in

by Penrod

Never has it seemed more important to me to reach out, to cross barriers, to break down dividing walls as Christians are called to do. Perhaps one might say that it is a time to set one's eyes and one's purpose on a different front. By different front I mean away from attending to defense, away from a warlike posture with fists up. Let that front or those fronts alone, both because they seem pretty dismal and hopeless and also because more valuable and important action can be found where love is on the move. On that front lie new possibilities. This is the different front I mean.

I think there is good reason to focus on the metaphor that is complimentary to reaching out--drawing in.

Reaching out is great and consider drawing in. Drawing in is not imperial. It does not aim at convincing, converting, or conquering someone. It enables me to recognize my need, the need of the one the Bible and evangelists have said is most in need of help. Drawing in enriches us as we draw in friends, experiences, information, and stories‹particularly from people across a barrier from ourselves (cultural, national, ethnic, social, geographical, religious). Our horizons are broadened as we draw in and by being an appreciative receiver we bless and enhance the one from whom we have gained.

As we are thankful to those close to us, we build our strength. When we draw in from those whom we don't know, we are on the front where we can make peace and break down some walls of hostility. If you would like to do something important, make a contact across a boundary or if you have made a connection, nurture the relationship. Draw in from the stories and literature of other peoples, especially a book or story by someone of a culture that may currently be hostile or remote.

I doubt there has been a time when drawing in and reaching out in works of appreciation and love have been more needed.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington's Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.

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