Missions, Misunderstood » Culture

Posts under Tag: Culture

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The American who moves into the slums when his countrymen almost always live uptown. The third-world-born doctor, the female cab driver, mixed-race families. These are people who deliberately choose to not conform to social expectations. When someone bucks the system, people take notice. Basic to our missiology are the concepts of cultural norms and expectations. Every culture has pre-determined ways […]

Joel Osteen was recently a guest on CNN’s Larry King Live Piers Morgan Tonight, where he was asked about his stance on homosexuality (clip here, entire segment here). Joel answered, in a round-about way, that he agrees with the Bible, and that the Bible was clear about homosexuality being “a sin.” Outrage ensued. Joel was labeled “judgmental” and rebuked for […]

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Sharing a hookah. Smoking a peace pipe. Drinking to a toast. Dressing in ceremonial robes. Missionaries constantly face the edges of contextualization. Incarnation requires that she constantly ask herself: “What should I do to minimize the difference between myself and those to whom I want to minister?” Every cultural difference hinders the communication of the message, and serves to emphasize […]

Dear Oklahoma, I’m writing in regard to State Question 755, the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit Oklahoma courts from deciding cases based on international or Islamic Law (Sharia). I’m sure you will have reviewed the ballot measure thoroughly and compared it to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution before voting. This is an important measure, […]

This is post #2 in a series on developing a new missiology. Over the course of about ten years, the church has seen a huge shift in thinking. As western culture moved away from identifying itself as “christian,” young(er) leaders started to explore new, more appropriate expressions of church in a post-everything context. Some questioned popular methodologies. Others questioned common […]

It used to be that there was a certain type of person who got a tattoo. Sailors, bikers, convicts. Tough guys in sleeveless shirts sported tattoos that depicted manly, outlaw rebel stuff like mermaids, warships, and skulls. But the type has changed. These days, everyone– from pastors to soccer moms– seems to be inked. Tribal swirls, Celtic knots, and (“The […]

Syncretism is a key missiological concept that refers to the all-too common practice of overlaying one set of beliefs with another, disparate one. People often go to great lengths to reconcile different, even opposing, belief systems in order to make sense of the world around them. When African tribes were (forcibly) “converted” to Christianity by imperialist missionaries in the 18th […]

At the beginning of the Iraq war, I heard an American military analyst on CNN talking about how young American troops had a major advantage over their enemy due to the fact that most of them grew up playing video games. He went on to say that training time for pilots and drivers had been drastically reduced since most of […]

We need to understand that there is more than just a language barrier between us and the people to whom we minister. Cultural differences make relating to others very difficult- first, we need to recognize our own culture, then we need to learn a lot about theirs, and then we can begin to understand what translation would involve. Think of […]