Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Our Cultural Concepts of Christianity
I recently finished Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys by Richard Twiss. It was a phenomenal, thought-provoking read that I highly recommend. In one section, Twiss argues that:
If self-revelation is the work of Creator and Creator’s engagement with people and nations, then crosscultural communication never occurs in isolation, in a cultural vacuum, but by definition occurs in a crosscultural context. Human messengers are never free from the prevailing cultural influences of their upbringing, worldview values, and sociocultural/political attitudes of their day. (61, cited below)
The point he is making is that humans are tied to their cultural background in such a way that any time we speak to someone from a different context, that becomes a cross-cultural context, no matter how neutral we attempt to be in our understanding. Thus, when applied to missions, it is important to keep in mind one’s own cultural influences and try to avoid imposing those cultural standards onto other cultures. We must not turn Christianity into Christianity + our own cultural understanding and practice of Christianity. Much of the book focuses on how Western culture has been imposed upon Native culture in Christianity as well as how we might break that cycle.
Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys is an excellent read that will challenge most readers’ expectations and presuppositions. I highly recommend it.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Richard Twiss, Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2015).