The following exerts are from Indiginized Christian Worship in India: Some Considerations. Westernised Posture "Another significant aspect that the Indian church lost in worship was the posture of worship. In most Indian religions worshipers sit on a thick mattress spread on the floor. People sit on the floor, with their legs crossed, as an expression … Continue reading Contextualising worship for Indian Christians
When it comes to contextualising Christianity and everything that entails I find it is important to recognise that there are diverse sources of diversity within contemporary society. Too often Christian missional literature focuses on culture purely in terms of nationality or ethnicity. But I find it is often just important to recognise the ways gender, … Continue reading Why it is important to recognise there are diverse sources of diversity.
Have you ever read The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus? If you haven’t you should, as it includes ancient commentary on Christian unity and cultural diversity that is just as relevant for today as it was when it was written in the second century. Mathetes (which means disciple in ancient Greek) has this to say: … Continue reading An ancient commentary on Christian unity and cultural diversity
I recently attended a Forge workshop where Allan Hirsch spoke on cultural distance as a barrier to the sharing the good news of Jesus with the world and the inconvenient truth that 80% of the energy of most churches went into reaching the 20% of their culture that was culturally closest. And then we wonder … Continue reading Does a geographic focus hinder churches in reaching demographic based cultures?
As an Australian who is interested in exploring more contextual expressions of Christianity I feel an obvious question I must ask is, is there anything distinctive about Australian art, and if so, what? I can't say I have a definitive answer but I have noted a number of sources drawing attention to an early shift … Continue reading What is distinctive about Australian art?
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? (Matthew 15:1-3) In his book, Pagan Christianity, … Continue reading What are some traditions that need breaking?
Some reflections by John P. Keenan on The Emptiness of Christ : The scriptural words of and about Jesus likewise describe him as empty of essence. [The] function of doctrine in Mahayana theology is not to communicate a body of information about God, but to engender a sense of the presence of God beyond all words. It is impossible … Continue reading John Keenan on The Emptiness of Christ
So what does C4 contextualisation look like for me, given that the Western esoteric community is my “indigenous” context? For me C4 contextualisation means a kind of Christianity that is esoteric flavoured yet still fundamentally Christ centred. It is not a haphazard syncretism; it is not merely a Christian veneer over a Pagan substrate. If … Continue reading Christ centred, Esoteric flavoured
I know many of you missional types have heard of the Engel Scale but what about the C-Scale or “C1 – C6 Spectrum” of Church Contextualisation? It was first coined by a missionary, John Travis (a pseudonym), in his article: “Must all Muslims leave Islam to Follow Jesus?” Writing for Evangelical Missions Quarterly in October, 1998, he … Continue reading Models of Contextualization
Much has been written about the cultural contextualisation of the gospel over the last decade. For example, the Gospel Coalition has written: “The principle behind Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 9:22 to ‘become all things to all men’ is what Christian thinkers call ‘contextualisation.’ Contextualisation is the idea that we need to be translating gospel … Continue reading Contextualization is not always Cultural
Just to the side here is a diagram I’ve drawn up to illustrate some of the complexities involved in communicating the good news in this multicultural, multireligious, multimedia context of ours. In the past it was reasonable to assume that cross-cultural communication was something that happened far away, beyond the borders of Christendom (bottom right … Continue reading How contextual is your Christianity?
Contextualisation is not about watering down the distinctiveness of Christ, it's about more clearly articulating the distinctiveness of Christ.