Thursday, 16 June 2011

Vagabond and Tourist

Are you a vagabond? Maybe you are a tourist?

Zygmunt Bauman uses these two expressions to describe modern day attitudes towards the world and cultures in which we live.

Both these metaphors describe and express a lifestyle of non-attachment and non-commitment.

The vagabond does not have goals, projects, plans or any idea where they might be going.  When they arrive they are not sure how long they will stay, and once they set off on their journey again, they figure out their destination while they are on the journey.
The vagabond keeps moving because life is a disillusionment.  All that they hope for and dream about never becomes a reality, and so they continue to travel, continue to move in the hope that the next place might fulfil their dreams of a better tomorrow and new day.  Te reality is however they will never settle because they never really will ever commit.

The tourist is also a traveller.  But whereas the vagabond has dreams that one day this may be the place in life for their dreams to become a reality, the tourist has no intention of staying.
The tourist enjoys the detachment from the place they have stopped.  They have paid to be a tourist.
The tourist enjoys the freedom of being able to ignore local and native problems, of not getting their hands dirty.  They are able to ignore the plight and the problems of the people around them.  The tourist simply moves through other people's homes and places with no commitment to that place or those people.  The tourist has paid to be apathetic and indifferent to what happens around them.  They can always get the next plane home.

Both the vagabond and the tourist can keep a distance.

The call to follow Jesus is different.  The option of being removed, unmoved and distant from the places they dwell is not an option.  The places and communities in which they dwell may be tough, difficult, evil and painful, yet God has a heart and desire to transform and give these people and places a hope and a future.

The call to follow Jesus is not one of a tourist or vagabond.  It is not a call to ignore the realities of the world around them.  It is not a call to move when our own dreams do not become a reality.  It is not a call to escape when things are too tough.
The call of Jesus is to commit oneself to the people and places in which you live.  It is a call to live in such a way that people around us glimpse at the future that God has in store for us.
It is a call to fight evil in all its forms and to declare freedom for those living in darkness.

God is refashioning a new creation and a new day from within the shadows of this day.  The agonies of today are the birth-pangs of a new creation.  And we are called to be signs of hope, declarers of love and sharers of those birth-pangs within the communities we dwell as we wait expectedly for the realisation of God's new world.

Don't be a vagabond or a tourist.  Be a follower of Jesus and let Him lead you deep into the reality of the communities you live in and into the lives of the people around you.

1 comment:

RDM said...

Ironically, ministers of churches can also be.....no, wait, gotta go, my tour bus is here!