Monday, August 20, 2007

How far is too far? Reaching the subcultures

How far would you go to reach the subcultures in our communities with the gospel of Jesus? Interesting question.

How far can you 'incarnate' the gospel, before you compromise it? At what point does syncretism set in? That is, the gospel message is compromised.

Looking at the provocative picture to the left, we are left wondering, how we would even begin to consider reaching into some cultures; but we need to.

Take for example, a Goth becomes a believer in Jesus. Do we now compel the new Christian to lose the black clothing, and lose the ear pearcings, in order to fit into our established Christian communities? What about the concept that God is light and no darkness is found in him, will we use that as a way to compel the new believer to join our circles and fit in our ranks?

The debate really is about, how far can we incarnate the gospel of Jesus into particular subcultures. My thought would be that we start with our belief/understanding of Jesus (Christology) and with that foundational teaching we are involved in the Mission of God (Missiology) and then our expression of Church will derive itself from that (Ecclesiology).

So if we're trying to reach the goth culture for Jesus, we would understand that Jesus is calling people to follow after him, to be a disciple, to leave the life of sin and go into the world and make other disciples. We would understand that Jesus says very little about what clothes to wear. We may even dress like a goth and connect with the goths in this way (knowing that our belief in Jesus is not compromised simply because we are wearing a different set of clothes). Goths start to follow Jesus and then a Church is established in this subculture, in which Goths can continue to be Goths, but be passionate for Jesus, passionate about holiness and passionate about the great commission.

Interesting thoughts. Am I pushing it too far? Let us know your thoughts.

Nonetheless, we must ask the difficult questions of how to ensure the gospel message is relevant today to each generation and subculture.

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