For the past 5 years I have more or less been living in the United States (yes – Hawaii is in the US, and has been for over 50 years). My tastes and influences have inevitably been shaped by my location. Aside from wondering if I’ll actually survive in a part of the world that doesn’t understand the importance of fresh Ahi I also consider that many of my theological influences have been rooted in my choice of location.
By far and large the single greatest influence on my Christian faith has been YWAM Maui, and specifically the School of Biblical Foundations and Missions (SBFM). Through the sacrifice of many people who serve as missionaries to students coming through the base I have been discipled in the ways of my faith. The importance of truth, as revealed through Jesus and the Bible have been embedded in my life. The spiritual disciplines have been enforced. Critical thinking and reason are celebrated here. A rich faith that has space for questions and reasoned thinking (which is, in part, obedience to the Greatest Commandment) has been promoted.
In short, I am thankful to Jesus for leading me here and to the faithful leaders who are now good friends and colleagues, for taking the time to invest in me. The New Testament’s analogy of discipleship being like taking a new-born from milk to solid foods (see 1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12, 1 Peter 2:2) makes so much more sense now that I’ve been around small children. The process is never clean, constantly frustrating and most of the time the kids don’t know what’s going on! But thanks to the patience of many I have progressed and several changes of attire later I can say that, yes, slowly, maturity has been gained.
As well as leaders here on the island I’ve been introduced to the teachings of, and in turn influenced by, great men and women of the faith such as: Francis Schaeffer, Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, C.S Lewis, G.K Chesterton and more. I’ve stumbled upon people like Mark Driscoll, Timothy Keller, Dinsesh D’Souza and found there contemporary voices lighting up a dying world. Os Guiness and Nancy Pearcey, with people like Chuck Colson are continuing the message of the importance of truth. For these and so many more I am extremely grateful.
Over the next few weeks I will be examining some of these people – and others – in more detail, sharing some of what I have learned so far. I’m looking forward to it!