On Tuesday we went to Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis with our group of friends, famous for their Fish and Chips I’d recommend it definitely.
(This is the second question of the week that I have pondered…the post below is the first…)
Not only was the food great, but the conversations and questions were far superior to the food and drink. It is hard for me to encapsulate the question we tossed around for 1.5 hours. Essentially it was, “How do we take American-culture-influenced-Christianity and combine it harmoniously with other culturally-influenced-Christianity?” I clumsily stabbed at it with proposing it was a matter of finding the foundational, biblical truths that would be at the root of each (more than two cultural/ethnic Christianities) and from there be able to distinguish what is cultural, and what is necessary for the gospel and salvation. It breaks down when trying to identify these elemental truths; these running themes foundational to the Christian faith. Who decides these truths? Does culture influence what an American identifies as to what an African identifies? Or a Mulsim or Jew? Probably to some degree.
But both don’t answer how can these be combined. My mind has travelled to and fro regarding this question. What if there is no combining necessary? What if your truth is true, but mine is true? A member of the conversation is a dear brother in Christ living in Jerusalem. Heralds himself as a Seminary dropout–my kind of guy. His stance, although it is hard to methodically and scientifically reconcile with the notion of combining these different Christianities, it is widens the approach of the topic. Think of Christianity as like the emotion of love, love that a young man is smitten with a young lady [note, it is not love, not where we’re going with this]. We each can “feel” and “understand” this love, but we express this love in very different ways. I might write a poem and love letter, you might write a song on your guitar, and he might altogether be dull and buy flowers. We each love, we each show love, it is just expressed differently. We value different principles, truths, or cultural influences. Maybe we know what salvation is (the redemptive work of God-as-Christ on the cross, from our sins), it is expressed, emphasized, and explicitly defined differently.
Maybe a better question would be, “How can I rid simplify my faith, and eradicate my cultural influences from my version of Christianity when I reach to those outside of my culture?”
and then my scientific brain tells me, keep searching, you haven’t concluded the results qualitatively yet. There is the P.O.E.T. model: Phenomenological, Ontological, Evaluative, and finally Transformational. The apostle Paul was the greatest biblical example of a missionary constantly removing his Jewish culture in order to reach more and more gentiles. And he pioneered this method of trialouge. Brilliant. And it must start with a wholistic view of the Bible. huh, there are pre-defined, timeless, and necessary biblical truths to faith in Christ.