Learning to be counter-cultural

by Rachel Inglis

Posted 24 December 2016

Recently I donated to a new not-for-profit organisation set up to deliver equipment for a children’s hospital in Syria. A friend asked me what I knew about the organisation and whether I thought it was bona fide and not just a front for terrorism.

These were valid questions, and I had to admit that I hadn’t looked very closely at the group. I had assumed they were OK because I’d heard about their work on the Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme.

I went back to the internet, delved a bit deeper and on the whole felt that since it was working with trustworthy partners, I could afford to trust that the group would do what it said it was going to do.

A deeper desire in me was that whilst I couldn’t say for sure that the organisation was genuine, on the whole, for me giving was the preferred option. It was about wanting to support something life-affirming, even if I was acting a bit in the dark.


field of wheat


The morning after this conversation I woke up with the words ‘the wheat and the tares’ in my mind. I turned to the parable, and read: ‘[don’t pull them up]… for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest ..’1

As I reflected on this, it amazed me that God should leave the weeds to grow amongst the wheat, so that the wheat (good) wouldn’t be damaged by pulling up the weeds (bad) too soon. Is that how God is with me, I began to wonder? Does God nurture the good in me to the point of overlooking my failings, so that the good in me grows and develops and isn’t damaged by over-zealous or untimely ‘correction’?

If that’s how God is with me, then maybe I can risk being more like that? Rather than focussing on the negative I see around me and being overly critical, how would it be, I wondered, to ‘turn a blind eye’ and appreciate all that is good and life-affirming?

It feels risky and counter-cultural.

But it kind of feels exhilarating too.

And very freeing.



1 Matthew 13: 24-30