Sunday

I've been thinking


As excited as I am to witness the political proceedings over the next 60-some odd days, November will come and go and we will have, Lord willing, another peacefully elected president who will hopefully do more good that harm to the country of my birth.

And then life will go on. I admit that things will change depending on who gets elected. And the results will say a lot about where the US is at. But this is not the first big election in the world. And the Lord is not waiting with baited breath saying, "Oh, who will win?" He is not surprised. And He has things to do that exceed even the borders of the US. Really. I'm not kidding. God really does care about things outside the States. He cares about people. A lot, actually.

I've been reading a book, Postmodern Pilgrim by Leonard Sweet, as part of some reading I'm doing for CAM. I read a Sweet book or two in seminary and liked them. Made me think, which is good. It's not new (2000) but looks at what our culture (mostly US/Western culture) is doing and how the church should be changing how it relates to the culture. Not the message. Not the Bible. Those things are timeless. The confession of a disciple of Christ has not changed since those who witnessed the resurrected Lord ascend to heaven went to work. But the culture sure has changed. The creeds are the same but how we communicate and experience (yes, that word is OK) our belief in those things has changed.

The point of the book (thus far) is that as we leave the modern era (that where reason was king, where the mind was most valued) and enter the post modern era (where experience and feeling combine with thinking, where the heart and the mind are valued together) that we must look to the culture and say, "what language are they speaking and can they understand what I am saying?" It's much like adjusting a lesson plan depending on the audience. I would teach Philippians 2 differently to 5th graders than to a group of graduate students. The point of my teaching a passage of the Bible is not that I get to be heard or that reason is followed or that people feel something. The point is that I teach in such a way that people understand and that they evaluate their lives and allow the Holy Spirit to transform them through whatever God teaches. I can't use American Football illustrations in Guatemala. They won't get it. I have to teach the same idea in a different way so that the hearer receives the information. Other wise I'm just, as Paul said, a "clanging cymbal" a bull horn, a megaphone. Making noise but accomplishing nothing.

And so I am and will continue to think about how to teach in a way that Guatemalans understand just like pastors in the States have to look at not only their congregation but their community and ask, "what language are they speaking". Because a culture speaks a language. And that means a lot more than grammar and vocab. Please pray for me as a figure that out. I sure would like to limit the casualties in the mistakes I will make.

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