Posted September 4th, 2008 by E. Goodman
For six years my job was to connect with a culture that was not my own in order to influence it. My desire was walk people from wherever they may have been spiritually toward a relationship with the Most High God through Jesus.
In the process, I learned a thing or two about the art of culture study. In foreign (to us) cultures, it’s easy to see the need for contextualization; without it, communication is difficult and influence is unlikely.
Globalization insures that cultural influence runs in every direction. The United States is maybe a few years from sharing Europe’s postmodern, post-Christian worldview. In many places (and not always where you might expect!), postmodernism is a worldview reality. Culturally speaking, my time in Europe has allowed me to see the future.
As I’ve reentered what used to be my home culture, I’ve seen things from a different perspective. I’m now the outsider that I didn’t understand before I left. Now, all of those things that were once familiar seem so strange. As I actively seek to connect with fellow practitioners of the Christian faith, I’m shocked at how few Christian leaders understand, their cultural contexts. Fewer still could be called cultural influencers.
I’ve been blogging here at Missions Misunderstood for a while now. In that time, I’ve (however inarticulately) questioned, challenged, and dismissed many popular notions about missions. I’ve also tried to suggest new approaches, a more biblical missiology, and a new vocabulary for discussing missiological ideas. I appreciate those of you who have followed me on this journey.
My goals have not changed, but my location has. We believe God has brought us back to the U.S. for a reason. In order for me to be good a steward of my experience in Europe, I feel the need to speak into the contextualization efforts (or gross lack thereof) of the American church.
I have seen the future, and American Christian leaders are not prepared for it. You can read my efforts to help in that regard at Contexting, my new blog. I may still post here on matters specifically concerning missions, but Contexting will focus on a broader range of topics; from social movements to global politics to cultural influencers.
If you feel the need to move toward a more incarnational approach to ministry, follow my blog for a little while. Invite some of the leaders in your community of faith to join you in reading Contexting. I believe that it will move you toward a better understanding of how to have a more redemptive relationship with the world around you.
Tags: Contexting, New blog
Filed under:Blogging, Culture