A few months ago, I got a text from Rhett, with a link to the website that you are on now, explaining to me that he and Elisa were starting a blog, and that they wanted me to look it over before they officially launched it. So, I opened it up and looked around, and for the most part really liked what I saw. There was just one problem: I thought the title was really weird. After looking at the word for a long time, I realized that the reason why I thought it was such a strange word was because it was not a real word. This lead to a series of voice memos with Rhett and Elisa, where I tried to subtly hint at the fact that I didn’t like the title and that I thought that they should change it, either through adding a hyphen or something to make it look more like a real word. I can’t recall the exact timeline, but somewhere along the way in this conversation I realized that the whole point was that the R and the E stood for Rhett and Elisa (This is the part where my mom shakes her head in disappointment). So, I still wasn’t crazy about the title, but I let it go (It’s a good thing Rhett didn’t try to use his first name, Søren, because SEventuring just doesn’t have the same ring to it).
Then, a couple weeks ago, I sat down to read all of their blog posts (I may or may not have neglected to read the blog posts about the life and ministry of two of my best friends for a prolonged period of time, but I’m not here to dwell on past mistakes). I have to admit, reading their posts from the past few months was a little weird for me. So many of the things that I was reading about were things that they had already told me about either through text, FaceTime, or in person, but reading their reflections instead of their reactions gave me the chance to slow down and process instead of simply reacting to a text message. For some reason, this reflection brought me back to that title, that I still wasn’t sure about, but this time, that RE (which I had tried to get Rhett and Elisa to change), suddenly jumped out at me. I realized that the prefix “re-” is a part of some pretty big theological words. Restoration (Acts 3.21, etc.). Reconciliation (Romans 5.11; 2 Corinthians 5.18-19). Redemption/redeem (Romans 3.24, Ephesians 1.7, etc.). Regeneration (Titus 3.5). Resurrection (Romans 1.4, all over the place). Probably some more words that I left out or forgot that you’re adding to this list. These words aren’t all tied to one root word in the original Greek or anything like that, but the amount of times that “re-” showed up in our English translations piqued my interests enough to look to see what was going on with these words. So, I opened my handy dandy Merriam-Webster app on my phone and searched “re-”. The first definition was simply “again,” but the second one, which jumped out me was “back to an original place, condition, etc.”. That’s when I realized that the reason so many of these words have this prefix is because that is what our God is in the business of doing. He takes brokenness, hopelessness, sin, evil, all the ways that we have messed up this world and he brings it back to an original place or condition. Even since sin entered the world in Genesis 3, and humanity rebelled against God and was no longer able to dwell in his presence because of the reality of sin, God has been at work bringing the entire world back to an original place or condition. That’s the message of the Gospel. That’s why the description of the New Heavens and the New Earth in Revelation 21-22 looks like the Garden of Eden, having no Temple but being filled with the presence of God, having rivers and waters of life, because the goal is for everything to be brought back to its original place, as God created it to be.
Now, the pragmatist in me thinks that all of that is nice, but at the end of the day it’s just a happy coincidence, and it basically is. To my knowledge, Rhett and Elisa didn’t set out to make a theological point with the title of their blog. But while it’s unintentional, that doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked, because God is not looking to bring things back to its original place on his own; he’s doing it through the Church (Ephesians 3.7-13). God does not bring us back to our original place to leave us there, but so that we can join in with the advancement of his Kingdom. This is the work that God has called each and every Christian to, and for Rhett and Elisa this calling is taking them to New Hampshire. Through the various roles where they will be serving, they will be showing people how God wants to bring them back to their original place: in relationship with Him. But they’re not able to do it alone; none of us are. That’s why we need one another. That’s why we need to pray for one another, to encourage one another, to support one another in whatever way is possible. If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re at least interested in supporting Rhett and Elisa in some way. If that is what God is calling you to, I pray that you will jump in to support them in the incredible work that they are doing. But while this blog is about supporting Rhett and Elisa, they are only a part of something that is much bigger, and I pray that Rhett and Elisa, and the entire Church, would seek to join in with what God is doing to bring the entire world back its original place.
AUTHOR BIO: Monte J. French has functioned in a variety of roles in relation to Rhett and Elisa, including, but not limited to, friend, roommate, podcast co-host, groomsman in their wedding, consumer of leftovers, text conversation partner, co-player of a variety of sports-themed video games, co-watcher of a variety of sports-themed television programs, metaphorical child, metaphorical father, metaphorical brother, and guest writer on their blog. He is the author of Only the Impassible God Can Redeem, a thesis that has literally been read by five people. In his spare time, he reads, peruses Twitter (@monteJfrench), and is told by Rhett and Elisa who he would be allowed to date in their eyes. He is very proud of Rhett and Elisa, and is honored to call them his friends.