ABOUT OUR NAME
As an organization, All Things Integrated® exists to equip educators, engage culture and
encourage discipleship by communicating a biblical worldview through articulate media,
live events, professional development, creative resources, and personal consulting.
But what about our name? What do we mean by All Things Integrated?
We all tend to compartmentalize our lives.
Work Life. Home Life. School. Entertainment. Finances. Relationships.
We often live as if one has no bearing on the others. But that is not the reality of our world and it is not how we are designed to live. Our Creator designed each of us uniquely and with a purpose. And we are meant to see the world accurately and live in proper relationship with God and with each other.
Dad-Joke Alert: The story is told of a child psychologist who spent many hours constructing a new driveway at his home. Just after he smoothed the surface of the freshly poured concrete, his small children chased a ball across the driveway, leaving deep footprints. The man yelled after them with a torrent of angry words. His shocked wife said, “You’re a psychologist who’s supposed to love children.” The fuming man shouted, “I love children in the abstract, not in the concrete!” [source]
Puns aside, we see the absurdity of the thinking here. Everything we say, think, or do is a reflection of who we are and has a direct bearing on our life and the lives of all around us.
In the first century, the Apostle Paul reminded his friends in Asia Minor, "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Colossians 1:15-20
Jesus Christ is Lord over all things. All things are held together by Him. He is sovereign over every inch of Creation. Whether someone believes this or not is irrelevant to its truth. It is the reality of our world either way. But for those who are redeemed, who hold a biblical view of the world, and who are followers of Christ, this fact enables them to experience life as it was meant to be. A life of purpose, meaning, and joy.
Paul goes on to explore this concept even further. He begins chapter 3 explaining to his fellow believers that since they have trusted in Christ, they have been given new life, eternal life. And this fact means that they no longer have to live with darkened, destructive thinking. And that thinking no longer has to sabotage their behavior. They are free! They have the freedom to live the way they were designed to live, free from the chains of their incorrect worldview.
He then sums up perfectly what it means to live the integrated life:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do. Not some things you do. Not most things you do. Not the spiritual things you do. Whatever you do.
And how were they to do them? In the name of the Lord Jesus. What does that mean? What does it mean to do something in the name of someone else? There are two ways to think of it.
The first is as an ambassador. When a nation sends an ambassador to another nation, they expect that person to speak and act as a representative of the sending nation. To communicate messages and to make decisions that are in the best interest of the nation, not in the ambassador’s own self-interest. In other words, they speak and act in the name of the king or the president or the nation. They conduct affairs on behalf of someone else.
Or think of it this way. When a company wants to promote their products, often they choose a famous athlete or celebrity to be an endorser. Michael Jordan and Lebron James wear Nike. George Foreman had that grill. And it seems almost every handsome actor or beautiful actress has some sort of fragrance line. Companies pay big bucks to attach their name to these famous people, because they want to transfer the public’s positive feelings about the celebrity to their product. Of course, sometimes companies have to quickly try to dissolve that name association when the celebrity is no longer a positive draw . . . think O.J. Simpson (Hertz) or Bill Cosby (Jello).
Living All Things Integrated means that whatever we do, whether in word or deed, we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. We speak, we think, and we act in such a way that Christ would be proud to have his name attached to that conversation, that thought, or that behavior. We orient every aspect to our life around the supremacy of Christ. We do not artificially remove God from certain areas of our life, but we allow him to lead in all areas. This is living integrated . . .
When we go to work, we do not leave our faith in the parking lot. We see our career, and all of our work endeavors as a means of worship and witness. This does not mean that we violate good manners or legitimate company policy. God does not call us to be rude or obnoxious (Colossians 4:5-6). What it means is that we work hard (Proverbs 14:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:10) . We are honest (Ephesians 4:28). We do skilled work (Proverbs 22:29; Exodus 35:30-35). We treat our employees fairly (Ephesians 6:9; Deuteronomy 24:14-15). We respect the boss (Ephesians 6:5-8).
Martin Luther is credited with saying it this way, “The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays—not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”
Those who live integrated are model employees. Not because they are perfect, but because they see their work as they see their world. Through the clear lens of God’s truth.
Much has been written in the last few decades about maintaining work-life balance. But throughout most of human history, parents and children spent their days living and working side-by-side. Yet, even within our modern, fragmented society, the family is not really separate from all the other areas of our lives. We were created to function best in family community. That is why God instituted the family unit (Genesis 2:18-24), long before other social frameworks like civil government or even religious assembly. We honor our parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). We honor marriage and fidelity (Hebrews 13:4). We love and respect our spouses (Ephesians 5:22-33). We submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). We train our children and we instill in them a right way of thinking (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:4-9) . We succeed or fail as a society as we succeed or fail as a family (Joshua 24:14-28).
Perhaps nothing illustrates the compartmentalized view of the world more than in how we educate our children. The popular misconception of most people (including many Christians) is that basic education, the facts and knowledge we want our children to learn, is neutral. I mean, facts are facts, right? Many hold the view that since public schools are officially non-sectarian, not directly espousing any one particular religion or worldview, then they are value-neutral. And that it is Christian schools and parents who homeschool their children that are the ones that are adding religious teachings to an otherwise neutral, unbiased curriculum.
But the reality is that any curriculum that artificially removes the reality of God from any academic subject or extracurricular activity is inherently advancing a worldview. And therefore not neutral in any way.
Integrated education means teaching all of God’s truth. It means understanding that a proper view of God is the only valid starting point for all knowledge (Proverbs 9:10). It means teaching our students to see the world clearly (Psalm 119:105; Romans 1:18-20) and to take every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Christian education is the only complete education for the whole child. Complete, because a Christian education does not need to ignore God’s truth as it appears in each academic discipline; rather, it highlights it. And this complete education is for the whole child, not just mind and body, but spirit and soul (Luke 10:27; Luke 2:52).
Art imitates life. Or is it the other way around? We are creative beings, having been made in the image of the Divine Creator (Genesis 1:26-28). As such, we naturally enjoy the art of others and our own creative outlets, including our hobbies. Can these really be compartmentalized away from our real life? The person living integrated understands that while there is great liberty in the entertainment we enjoy (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Timothy 4:4-5), there is also a great danger in allowing destructive thoughts to take hold in our hearts, entering our lives through what we see, hear, and enjoy in our entertainment and recreation (Galatians 5:13-26; Philippians 4:8).
It’s often said that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their calendar and their checkbook. How we spend our time and how we spend our money reveal our true priorities. An integrated life means that we understand that God owns it all, and that we are simply stewards and managers of His property. And in this way, we seek to leverage our financial resources in a way that honors God. As such, we are honest (Leviticus 19:11; Proverbs 10:2). We provide for our family (1 Timothy 5:8). We are generous (2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Psalm 112:5). We are wise with our financial planning (Luke 14:28-30; Proverbs 31:10-31). We avoid debt (Proverbs 22:7). We live by faith (Psalm 37:25-26; Philippians 4:19). We manage our resources in a way that God could proudly attach his name to every financial transaction (Colossians 3:17).
We love others (John 13:34-35). We seek their betterment (Philippians 2:3-4). We treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). We love our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37). We love our enemies (Luke 6:27-34). We communicate respectfully (Colossians 4:5-6). We do not gossip (Ephesians 4:29). We do not seek revenge (1 Thessalonians 5:15). We defend the helpless (Proverbs 31:8-9). We show mercy (Luke 6:36).
We do these things, not because they give us warm, fuzzy feelings. We do these things and we live this way, because that is how we are designed to live. In community. And with God’s truth as our common reality.
The list goes on . . .
The list is as long as life itself. But boil it all down and what we are really talking about is an Integrated Worldview. A way of seeing and experiencing the world, not as we dream it would be, or as we fear it could be, or as people tell us it is, but as it actually is. Reality. And then, each moment, orienting our every thought, word, and action around that reality.
That is All Things Integrated.