There used to be a time when everything was local. Food, appliances, news, and events were locally familiar. You actually knew what you were eating, who grew it, and their grandmother’s favorite pair of glasses. Friends were real, actual people who lived next door. Through the decades, America, along with the rest of the world, shifted into a globalized society. Now our food was coming from South America, appliances from Asia, manufactured by the third world, news from places unpronounceable in English, and events were multinational and unfamiliar. Friends became digital and geographically distant, while next-door neighbors became strangers and socially distanced. The Walmarts killed the mom and pop shops; blogs threatened newspapers; video and music shops went bankrupt because of the internet; and friends were now moving photos on screens.
Many have reacted against this globalization with resurrected local movements, but they are struggling. Small, local entities are cost inefficient, ineffective, sometimes myopic, and unable to compete. However, globalized entities aren’t doing any better. People are discouraged with impersonal corporations, cheaper materials, unhealthier options, and overwhelmed with the bulky unwieldiness of it all.
One could get stuck between the war of locals vs. globals or extract the best from both, partaking in a movement called glocalization: to think globally; to act locally. The internet and the world have already moved in this direction: global encyclopedias are being corrected on the local level; global orchestras are recorded from individual video submissions compiled together; and, regimes are being overthrown in the Middle East by locals, for a few examples. Global success can be achieved when local entities contribute the global principles to their local principalities.
What is remarkable is the Seventh-day Adventist Church has already been working on a glocalized model. Some could accuse it of being too distant, large, authoritarian, and full of bureaucracy (ecclesiological hierarchialism). Or others could charge it with not enough doctrinal censure, being too noninterventionist, inefficient, and full of confusion (ecclesiological congregationalism). But in reality, the Adventist Church, functioning as described in the Church Manual, is a glocalized biblical movement. From our church governance structure to Sabbath School and from Pathfinders to our evangelistic strategies, the Adventist church is fulfilling God’s plans to be local in spirit and global in character.
The world is currently in a state where glocalized movements can potentially explode! For example, in just over a couple of months, one particular frivolous video was viewed more than a billion times (an unexaggerated estimate), the first in internet history! But what made this video exceptionally popular are the grassroots parodies that followed. Currently, other flippant videos are following this model, becoming global thanks to the local spoof interpretations that are taking place. If the world is harnassing the power of social media and glocalization for profit, self-aggrandizement, sensuality, and eye-candy (1 John 2:15-17), how much more should God’s people be working for the furthering of the Gospel, preaching and teaching of Jesus, and the glory of God?
We are living in the glocal battle of the Great Controversy. The greatest glocal agent, Jesus Christ, never traveled more than a hundred miles, never held political office over the masses, never attended a cosmopolitan university, never published an international book, never visited a metropolitan city (Jerusalem was hardly one of the cities we would consider today), and died homeless and poor. But Jesus is also the most internationally-known figure on earth, with the most number of songs, artwork, and books produced about Him! Big things can happen from small, faithful, sacrificial efforts.
What would happen if instead of parodies of foolishness were more reproductions of Christ in the mind and heart? What would happen if local, grassroots individuals took on the mantle and call of Christ personally in their life? A “billion times” type of result is bound to happen! The question remains for is which local manifestation of a global movement are you going to partake in?
Revelation depicts two glocal campaigns. One consists of three frogs coming out of the mouths of the dragon, beast, and false prophet, going to deceive and gather all the kings of the earth and the whole world (Rev 16:13-16). Another movement consists of messages coming out of the mouths of the three angels, gathering and calling out all the nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples (Rev 14:6; 18:4). The former is one set of devils seeking to counterfeit globally (cf. the frogs that were the last counterfeit during Moses’ day); the latter is another set of angels seeking to warn globally (cf. the three angels that visited and warned during Abraham’s day).
If simple YouTube videos can be viewed a billion times, minimal Tweets can change societies, Facebook updates can demolish Arab regimes, then they also can be used to further the kingdom of God on this earth through the Gospel message. Combined with arsenals of paper, leaflets of books, touchscreen applications, discs, streaming videos, blogs, and all forms of digital, analogue, and social media, each individual must be employed for the global war of the Wings against the Warts.