Monday, October 30, 2006

Mission & Cultural Identity

God said to Abram, 'Go!' and Abram 'went'. Without this habit of obedience to divine displacement there would have been no biblical story or international people of God.

I learned about the idea of 'displacement' through Bible College. I was reminded of that this morning. Mission begins with the 'displacement' of the Son of God. 'God so loved the world that he SENT his only Son...' (John 3:16). The history of the Christian community is full of sending, going and receiving. Much of this movement has been within cultures. Like church leaders in China travelled, often at great risk, to minister to unregistered group of believers, even in the dark days of the Cultural Revolution.

But much of this travelling, this displacement, has been between countries and cultures. I learned that at the very core of Christian identity lies an all-encompassing change of loyalty - where we are (in our own culture and comfort zone) to a new culture where we are called (in a different culture or sub-culture and out of our comfort zone). I've been experiencing this displacement recently, and God has opened doors for me to be out of my comfort zone.

What about you? Are you willing to go out of your comfort zone to where God has called you to - within cultures, a different culture or sub-culture?


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Well I am certainly going to experience a different culture in January.

Christianity brings people out of the sphere of this world and into a new heavenly position.

That means finding a new supranational identity in Christ that transcends the cultural identities of this world.

Every Blessing in Christ


Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, well are you going to Japan in January? How long for?

I like the concpet of having a new supranational identity in Christ, and I am certainly all for that - hence my desire to promote Christ's cause in cross-cultural mission.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Just two months. They asked me if I wanted to go for three, but I said I needed to get on with my studies.

God Bless


Kel said...

In my experience the Abrahamic call requires an internal journey first, moving to the point where you are willing to risk all. Then comes the walk the talk bit. The put your money where your mouth is bit.
There may come a further call to physically go to another "place" and become a "stranger".
I really enjoyed reading "Abraham" by Bruce Feiler. It helped me on my journey.

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew,trust that you'll be a blessing to those you meet in Japan, and also learn so much more about cross-cultural mission during those two months. May God bless you as you follow His direction and guidance.

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi Kel, your insight is always inspiring and encouraging. I have heard of "Abraham", but haven't had a chance to read it. I must get hold of that book, and learn from Bruce Feiler.

Thanks Kel!

fletch said...

The call of Abraham, Hebrews description of God's people looking for a city, Philipians 2 telling us to have "this mind" that Jesus had when he humbled himself to take that MASSIVE journey from being "in the form of God" to taking on "the form of a servant". Hmm....I wonder if mission is somehow an ongoing theme in this book? Hmmm.... hehehe

Hey, Matthew, I'd love to hear about your plans for January. I lived/worked in Japan for a number of years. Would be interested to hear who you are working with, your plans...etc... If people here would be bored by hearing the story, you can write me at greg "at" leadbyserving "dot" com. :-)


Kitty Cheng said...

So true Greg. Mission is surely an ongoing theme in this book I reckon.

Radagast said...

I agree with the "all-encompassing change of loyalty at the very core of Christian identity."

So the real displacement is between our own culture, which is (or should be) Church culture, and the culture where we are called to serve, which may be right where we live.

I hope the doors that God is opening for you take you to interesting places.