Recently an article appeared on Facebook called "28 Reasons to Love Taipei." Here were a few of them (a couple of them were a little risque so I won't include them):
- Family Mart, 7-Eleven have everything.
- Taipei has the coolest cafes.
- Eslite is the only 24-hour bookstore.
- Karaoke is a 24/7 sport.
- Before every election it looks like this (you'll have to see the picture).
- Shrimping is 24/7.
- You won't recognize 50% of the things at your local market.
- Beef noodle soup is Taipei's official religion.
- Youghe has the best breakfast.
- Taipei is the Chinese pop/indie music capital.
- Always somewhere there is a music festival.
- Yangmingshan is a bus a ride away.
- The garbage trucks sing to you.
- The Metro
- The night markets
- If it's too cold you can go to Kenting on a cartoon decorated bullet train.
- Taipei 101 has the best Chinese New Year fireworks
- Most of all -- it's the people.
What do all of these things have in common? The answer is they are evidences of common grace. You say, "What is that?" To paraphrase Scott Kauffman, it just means that God gives immense grace to all of His creatures, that He is interested in not only saving individual souls, but of restoring his creation which will come when the kingdom of Jesus comes in its fullness. It means that God is the author of beauty and can be found in some way in almost every person, or situation. And wherever they are found they should be used to point others and ourselves to Jesus. In New York City, some Christians started a magazine that focused on "signs of life in music, film and culture". It's called Paste Magazine. It has received all kinds of secular awards because its creators love the culture and want to point people to "the good, the true and the beautiful" and ultimately to the One who is the source of all that is good, and true and beautiful.
Why is this so important? On the one hand it creates bonds with all kinds of people. You can also simply be grateful and let these signs of grace point you to Christ. It can help you work with people who haven't come to faith in Christ for the common good. It can help you appreciate all kinds of people while not in any way compromising the uniqueness of Christ. And as Kauffmann has said it can make you "less afraid of the non-Christianity outside you and more concerned for the non-Christianity inside you." Common grace doesn't save you. Only the cross can do that, but common grace is the gift he gives to all people.