Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Cultue Context and Meaning
All churches love certain things. Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer. Those are good loves. Some are neutral loves. Some are not. Other churches love their building, their history, or their strategy.OK, I get the point, but the whole thing seems to be a bit overstated. Let's look at number 1. Sometimes It is pretty hard to tell the difference between culture, context and message. Sometimes a message is definitively counter-culture. At what point does tailoring the message to the culture compromise the message. These is not easy stuff to deal with just telling people they have to be "relevant does not do a thing towards wrestling with those questions. This has become a trope.
Those can be good or bad, depending on what we mean by love and how we value those things. But, some things churches love that hurt their mission and hinder their call. Here are three I've observed from my work with thousands of churches.
1. Too many churches love past culture more than their current context.
2. Too many churches love their comfort more than their mission.
3. Too many churches love their traditions more than their children.
Number 2 is an absolute truth. Medium and small churches have deeply rooted familial structures. They take on a clubish feel and this is not a great thing. But breaking up the club does not mean you change EVERYTHING. The problem is political, not cultural.
And 3, if you will pardon me, is just BS. Children should be taught tradition. Not all traditions will survive a generational shift, agreed, but that is a decision the next generation should make only after it has come to thoroughly understand the tradition. That is just a false dichotomy.
New and novel is a way to attract attention and court fashion. It is a short term fix for a long term problem. Christianity is not a matter of fashion, it is a matter of truth. Until we can carefully delineate between tot he two, we should not off the tropes.
fashion mission truth