Is it any surprise that we tend to compromise biblical teaching when we do not deliberately take steps to contextualize in a way that is both biblically faithful and culturally meaningful?
Consider a few simple facts. We all have limited perspectives. We all have biases. Our understanding of historical documents and contexts is partial at best. The Bible reveals the work and character of an infinitely glorious God, whom we could never comprehend fully within our little mind. If we are not purposeful, then we are presumptuous. If we are not intentional about how to contextualize, then we presume that our personal, cultural and denominational perspective is sufficient to contextualize the biblical message in a cross-cultural context.
This is why giving teenagers the opportunity to take risks (and fail!), while surrounding them with Christian community and good theology, is so important:
As adolescents become increasingly eager to utilise their expanding intellectual skills and explore new social relationships, they begin to appreciate the influence they have in enacting change, either through political movements, activism for causes they believe in, or lending social support to a friend in need. Encouraging opportunities to learn more about their environment and their role in shaping it can empower their naturally creative juices.
These stories are all too common in ISIS-threatened or controlled areas of the Middle East. Please continue praying for those affected by ISIS. Excerpt:
People started to flee. I didn’t know what to do: I was torn between the need to get my family to a safe place and my commitment to the hospital. It was a time of great uncertainty.
By the time I reached home, I’d realized: my ability to pastor Trump supporters was limited by my inability to empathize. Christianity’s great pastors and theologians have long insisted that a pastor care about the experiences of his people. Bonhoeffer, for instance, encouraged his fellow ministers to “regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer"...As a pastor, I want to embody this kind of sympathy.
Today, graffiti is seen as both destructive and anti-social. It is widely regarded as vandalism, not as something to be encouraged on ancient monuments and historic sites. That attitude is largely a modern one. Until recent centuries, people of just about every level of society carved graffiti into ancient buildings. It simply wasn’t seen as something to be condemned. The Coliseum in Rome, or Bodiam Castle in England, to take just two examples of key European heritage sites, are covered in centuries-worth of graffiti.