Good morning from Prague. I pray as you read this you are seeing God move in your life. I’m back from Athens and fully back into “normal” life here. I must apologize about the blog silence this week. I have a couple of videos and a ton of pics from my holiday that I haven’t got up yet. It was a needed break. But anyway… This morning as I ate breakfast (or eating) I had a “hmmm” moment as read the Desiring God blog about a subject close to my heart, Understand and Appreciate Cultures. The Desiring God bloggers quoted the Lausanne Willowbank Report: Consultation on Gospel and Culture and this is what gave me the “hmmm” moment:
We believe that the principal key to persuasive Christian communication is to be found in the communicators themselves and what kind of people they are. It should go without saying that they need to be people of Christian faith, love, and holiness. That is, they must have a personal and growing experience of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, so that the image of Jesus Christ is ever more clearly seen in their character and attitudes.
Above all else we desire to see in them, and especially in ourselves, “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1), in other words, the humble sensitivity of Christ’s loveâ€¦.
First, there is the humility to acknowledge the problem which culture presents, and not to avoid or over-simplify it. As we have seen, different cultures have strongly influenced the biblical revelation, ourselves, and the people to whom we go. As a result, we have several personal limitations in communicating the gospel. For we are prisoners (consciously or unconsciously) of our own culture, and our grasp of the cultures both of the Bible and of the country in which we serve is very imperfect. It is the interaction between all these cultures which constitutes the problem of communication; it humbles all who wrestle with it.
Secondly, there is the humility to take the trouble to understand and appreciate the culture of those to whom we go. It is this desire which leads naturally into that true dialogue “whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand.” We repent of the ignorance which assumes that we have all the answers and that our only role is to teach. We have very much to learn. We repent also of judgmental attitudes. We know we should never condemn or despise another culture, but rather respect it. We advocate neither the arrogance which imposes our culture on others, nor the syncretism which mixes the gospel with cultural elements incompatible with it, but rather a humble sharing of the good newsâ€”made possible by the mutual respect of a genuine friendship.
Good stuff, especially because of a conversation I just had with a Czech friend. I’m wrestling with contending and contextualizing within this culture. I’m grateful though, because I know God is moving in my heart and the hearts of Czechs. More to come… Blessings. By the way, I think the above quote is for each and every Christian seeking to live missionaly in the worlds He has placed us! GO BE A MISSIONAL REVOLUTION TODAY!
Hey Zach! Good stuff! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart on here for the Lord to bless us from it too! I pray that everything is going well there! I was in Xenia yet again last weekend for Winter Retreat, but with my athletes from UK….reminded me of you…good times in good old Xenia!