So what does C4 contextualization look like for me, given that the Western esoteric community is my “indigenous” context?
For me C4 contextualization means a kind of Christianity that is esoteric flavoured yet still fundamentally Christ centred. It is not Christo-Pagan syncretism; it is no Christian veneer over a Pagan substrate. If anything it is the converse. It is an answer to the question, how is the challenge of the good news lived out and communicated intelligibly to a person with my kind of cultural identity?
Referring back to the six characteristics of esotericism, here is a few reflections I have regarding this kind of Christianity:
The idea of universal correspondences. Though story clearly is more core for Christianity that symbols, symbols are nevertheless deeply significant for me. And as for story interpretation, I am far more interested in pattern recognition than rigid interpretation; far more interested in the big picture than small details; far more interested in the relationships between events than the events in isolation. I am interested in the Scriptures as story systems, in the heroes of scriptures as archetypes, in the acts of Jesus as symbolically subversive. We live within a symbolic universe and Jesus challenged this universe symbolically. I often do my theology visually as much as textually (see diagram). I relate my practice and teaching to my symbolic and storied environment. I think in terms of simultaneous causation as much as sequential causation. I am interested in how universal archetypes took on historical particularity in and through Jesus.
The idea of living Nature. I view the world and the world to come holistically. Salvation is not limited to the relationship between God and humanity but God and everything. Everything in this universe is God dependent and God breathed. The universe reverberates with the Word.
The role of mediations and of the imagination. The imagination is a gift from God, every bit as much as the intellect. God speaks to us though many mediums, through dreams, visions and guides. Most important of all: as above, so below, in Jesus, the Messiah.
The experience of transmutation. Faith is more than an affirmation, it is an experience. Life transformation, the obedience that comes through faith, is what I seek and what God seeks in me.
A practice of concordance. I do not consider all religions the same, but neither do I consider Christianity to have a monopoly on truth, still less individual Christian traditions. I am therefore open to learning what I can from different religions and different Christian traditions, though always keeping the good news of Jesus and the resurrection at the centre.
The idea of Transmission. The idea of discipleship is one I consider very important, far more than mere church membership. I have found the seed of the gospel takes deepest root where an extended period of one-on-one discipleship is pursued, particularly in the beginning. Although good mentors can be hard to find (believe me, I know!), perseverance is worthwhile.