We are back from a class on contextualizing theology in Brussels, Belgium. I know you’re thinking, “you do this for fun?” The answer: yes, we do! We are nerds like that. In all seriousness, we are so glad we had this week to learn about discussing biblical truths in ways that are most meaningful to the culture here.
I’ve been pondering...wouldn’t an indigenous person be so much more qualified than a foreigner to minister to their own people? Wouldn’t it be more efficient for us all to remain in places where we are the most culturally aware? Other than the obvious “great commission” biblical mandate, I will never know why God calls us to different locales where we can offend and confuse others along our cultural learning trajectories.
What I do know is that God brought us here to take part in His plan for this nation. We have different things to bring to the table. These things aren’t better but they can be useful as other perspectives on ministry. We, as outsiders, can draw things out about a culture that its members don’t necessarily notice.
Every culture has unique forms that are valuable to the Kingdom of God...things that other people groups do not posses. As a member of a culture, it is difficult to see these attributes because it’s a “forest through the trees” situation. Our job here is to help Irish university students extract eternal biblical truths so that they can fulfill their purposes as people of God.
The Bible is unique in that it doesn’t seek to uproot our cultural traditions but transforms them into the means that most glorify God. Jesus is looking to redeem everything about all of us. We just need to let Him!