Friday, April 04, 2008

Crossing Cultures and Building Bridges

This term at Rockbridge is winding up, and the course I'm taking "Understanding Cultures" is beginning to come together for me. We've been learning how our cultural view affects how we perceive our world and how it colors our relationships. We're also acquiring some anthropology chops to enable us to study and understand cultures and people groups.

Going in, I had probably the lowest expectations of any course I have ever taken at Rockbridge. With two weeks to go, I can say I've learned a great deal that I believe I can use. Kudos to Dr. Jeff Ginn and Rockbridge as well as my classmates.

My role in the Kingdom is that of pastor/communicator, not anthropologist. I'm learning how to "read" cultures and people groups for one purpose - to better proclaim the Word of God and give testimony to God's greatness. So tonight, when I read this quote in the lecture notes, I just had to share it

Communicating God's Word is a deeply spiritual event involving the Holy Spirit. Gospel presentation is a missionary act.

Communicators of the Gospel are intimately and personally involved as participants in this process. And the best communicators do it in deep, deep prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit.

There is something mysterious about the infinite communicability of the Bible.

There is nothing else like it in the world that is proclaimed and then transforms people.

True, the Bible by itself does not do this either. The community, the church, works through the text and brings their understanding to what they receive.
R. Daniel Shaw and Charles E. Van Engen, Communicating God’s Word in a Complex World (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003):29-30

It is through the Holy Spirit, through a prepared communicator in awe of the power and majesty of God's revealed Word, and to a community prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive it - that God can do amazing things.

He can change the course of a life and through that life the course of history.
He can bring the Words written down thousands of years ago to bear on the problems of today.
He can lead a person across the "bridge" of the gospel into newness of life.

Too cool! And I get to do it every week!

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