Scripture and Culture

We are part of a multi-lingual congregation.  In recent years we’ve had the experience of sharing a message or study on the same passage with different cultural groups.  It can be a challenge.  Here in Wisconsin, preachers are used to using football illustrations, for example.  That is lost on at least one of the groups here who come from Asia where American football is not big.  So we are constantly confronted with how much we are influenced in our thinking and reading by our culture. 

If that is a bad thing, too bad.  We can not escape culture.

It is  a good thing to find ways to listen through the eyes and ears of another culture.  One way is to simply read books from other eras, or books in translation from other cultures.  C. S. Lewis suggested that readers ought to alternate between historic or classic texts and contemporary ones. 

Another way is to be associated with people who are from another country, ethnicity and/or language.  Listen and observe.  Notice the differences and see what you can learn from them.

We have noticed our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters use the expression “for the love of Lord” much more frequently that we do.  (“…para el amo de dios..”).  We have noticed an attitude of quiet reverence with our Chinese speaking fellow believers – hmmm.  We have seen that our own kids, separated by 30 years of culture, TV, Internet, Face book, You Tube, i Pod, etc. are also of another culture.

The saying goes, that is why we have two ears and only one mouth.

We think culture is good, and the more you are open to listening to others, the better you are.  We will not be served well by the posture of the Ostrich, with our heads in the cultural sands.



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