Many, many, many years ago in Nashville, Tennessee where I grew up, there was a phrase that was created.
The phrase was “The 3901 Syndrome.”
I grew up going to a private Church of Christ school- David Lipscomb. I had chapel everyday. Bible class every single day. In my graduating class in 2005 there were around 75 of us who had been together since kindergarten. Of those 75 of us, I would say the majority of those people had parents that had also gone to school there or had at least an aunt or uncle who had as well. Then to make this whole system even more complicated, there is a University connected to this elementary, middle, and high schools call Lipscomb University. Again, most of my graduating class went there. Then adding to this tangled web, about half of those people will send their kids back there or work there in the next 10 years just like our parents did.
I poke fun. I am one of them though. My mom went there kindergarten through college, as did both of my aunts, and my cousins.
I remember talking with my mom in high school about how frustrated I was by this system of things. People never getting out of “the bubble.” People turning up their noses at those who did go out of “the bubble.” Educated people that did not understand why you can’t call a waiter “gay” and laugh. People that did not understand society outside of “the bubble.” That drinking socially is not necessarily bad…most of the President’s did/do it. That people that use instruments in services are going to hell. That it may be better for someone to use their gifts in work than just going after money.
3901 Granny White Pike. The people that basically never leave that address. It is a saying meant to say, they do not have a very large world view. Their world view does not extend past 3901 Granny White Pike–David Lipscomb Campus.
The thing is, there are 3901 people everywhere. Even in Texas. I know those people in Abilene, that were born in Abilene, go to school in Abilene, get jobs in Abilene, and will most likely die in Abilene. I also work in a place called Highland Park. It is peculiar, there are 3901 people there also. They are more cultured so to speak, but many of them are caught up in the here and now… to drive 15 minutes away is a big deal, but flying to Italy is not.
Sometimes, I think we get the 3901 syndrome. We are so caught up with the people we know, what we do, where we are, fitting in, that we forget there is a big world and lots of people to reach. Lots of people to love. Lots of people that need clean water. Lots of people struggling. Lots of special needs kids. Lots of people needing a cure.
I was talking to my mom today. I was contemplating out-loud. I was wondering… I know several people that have been in the same Sunday school class with the same people for decades (in Nashville, Abilene, Dallas, Southlake, Jamaica, Kentucky, etc). I know that this is community. However, I don’t know if I was just given an adventurous streak or what… but I was thinking… when I am in my 40’s-60’s I hope I have a Sunday school class to stand firm in, a core group to trust, to come home to, but I can’t see myself doing that every single week. How boring. I also see myself going out dealing with lots of people in lots of places. Can there be a balance? Can you have the 3901 syndrome as well as the world changers syndrome?
World changers… I get that term from World Changers International. It was formed by Crefflo and Taffi Dollar based out of Atlanta.
These are people that write books, go to Africa, touch the sick, are in the slums dealing with human trafficking like Lisa Bevere, building water wells like James & Betty Robinson, fighting spiritual battles publicly like Holly Wagner, challenging the church like Donald Miller, speaking to the youth like Christine Caine, touching lives with musical talents like Hillsong Church, etc.
I was reading in Glamour Magazine (my monthly read that I have a subscription) an article called “Women of the Year.” Now this woman, I have a love-hate relationship with. I feel like I could be friends with her. She is always working at something, trying to set something bigger in motion, but also trying to do it in heels and with out a hair out of place (she has tweeted about this). I say that to say, she annoys me, but some of the stuff she says and does, even the annoying, I could see myself doing and saying.
It is Maria Shriver. Many accredit her to being a part of the Kennedy clan or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife. However, she has written 7 books and had a major TV journalism career. All her “A Woman’s Nation” talk is a little overkill sometimes…but
I do like what one of her best friends said about her, “Maria is always evolving, peeling the layers back, to get at why she is on this planet.”
If you are a 3901er or a World Changer…please. Wherever you are: in the world or simply at 3901 Granny White Pike. Please. Examen yourself. Peel the layers back. Use your gifts. For glorifying God. There is life out there. Many lives to be touched. You may never leave 3901, but I bet if you touch a life in 3901 then maybe that one life will go be a world changer. Maybe that 3901er influenced that person to be a world changer. Maybe that world changer influences that one person to make a difference in their 3901.
Make a difference. Evolve. Bless. Don’t bless anybody out.