Glocal Thinking

earth handsYears ago I heard the phrase, saw it on bumper stickers, and also taught in schools (hey, it was California after all) “Think globally, act locally.”

What a great bumper sticker philosophy. To think globally and then take those ideas and apply them to where you’re at. To think of things on a global scale and then look at how you can live that out in your local community. I’m actually not bashing this idealism, I think it has some great potential.

Recently I came across the mash up word “glocal.” It’s combining global and local together (der). 20 plus years ago (so can’t believe that Nirvana’s Nevermind album came out 23 years ago…I’m getting old…but I digress) things on the global scale didn’t always find it’s way into the local ideology and philosophy. CNN was just getting it’s start and PR after round the clock news about the Gulf War, MSNBC and FOX news hadn’t started really hitting the airwaves (nor polarizing stereotypes of political thought), and news was found in something called a newspaper (I think it was like an analog news feed made of paper). Global information, issues, problems, and the like weren’t fully made aware to people.

Then the Internet happened. And then blogs, podcasts, Facebook and Twitter happened. Real time information, passing along images, thoughts, ideals, situations could be experienced in real time (such as people “live tweeting” events such as the Superbowl or the conflict in Ukraine…heck, a dude even accidentally live tweeted Seal Team 6’s operation in Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden). Global has become local and local has become global.

We are living in a glocal society.

We can no longer think globally and act locally just as much as we can’t think locally and not act globally. The world has come to our smart phones (that thing you play cat videos from YouTube on and sometimes make phone calls but usually text) and our TVs and computers. We can not be disconnect from the global community. It is just as local as it is global. It truly is glocal.

And so has the Bible. The Bible has gone glocal. Years ago when I began my sermons by reading scripture, I would ask people to turn to that section in their Bibles where the passage is from. After a while, I started seeing people not opening up books but looking at their phones. And now I ask people to not only turn to the passage in their Bibles but to open up their Bible app on their device (I highly suggest the Youversion app…it’s awesome). Bible apps like Youversion have made the Bible available in so many languages across the globe. If you have access to the Internet or have a smart phone, you have access to the Bible. It has gone glocal.

Back to God Ministries International (formally the Back to God Hour) has a great glocal presence. They have their North American English language ministry along with providing radio broadcasts over the internet in different languages and other ways to be glocal.

Thinking glocal is more than just thinking globally and acting locally. It is realizing that the world around us has shrunk immeasurably. The ends of the earth are just as close as Walmart down the street. Yet do we live that way?

earth 1Being glocal also affects us spiritually (this is Spiritual Musclehead). What we ought to pray for and who we ought to pray for has grown immeasurably in the recent years. Now more than ever, we are able to pray and pray specifically for others in different parts of the world. Crises that are occurring half way around the world take seconds to reach us if you’re following the right blog or person on Twitter.

Praying glocally creates a whole new way to pray. Years ago I came across the book Operation World. It was a book that listed all the countries in the world and how to pray for them. Now you can just go to their website in order to pray for these countries and up to date information on what to pray for.

We are now glocal. The church is now glocal. We have no excuse to go to the ends of the earth because the ends of the earth have come to us. We have no excuse not to be concerned with the plight of injustice, oppression, hunger, pain in the world because we cannot avoid not seeing it.

As the church, we are to be glocal. We are to not only be involved globally around the world (supporting missionaries serving in various parts of the world like Ben Meyer and Dave Gifford in Mexico or George de Vuyst in Ukraine…all of whom I highly recommend finding more about and supporting in their ministries) but also to live locally as well, being involved in the community around us. What happens globally happens in the microcosm of the local community. The two are now forever intertwined. It is no longer think globally act locally it is to think and act glocally as the church, as a follower of Jesus.

How can you think, pray, and act glocally?

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