Sunday, September 11, 2005

Contextualisation

Recently at our morning congregation I preached on the need to contextualise the Gospel-which is basically about explaining the message of Jesus in ways that are culturally relevant to particular groups of people. So taking the context, area, socio-economic status, nationality, culture seriously when trying to work out how to explain the mesage of Jesus to them. Of course there are certain elements of that message that remian timeless, but sometimes how we explain them has to change.

One of the classic Biblical examples of this (other than the fact that God became human in Jesus in order to restore right relationship with us) is Paul's message to the Athenians in Acts 17:16-28. You can find the full text here. He looked around him at the prevailing culture of his day, and used the messages, ideas and thoughts that were predominant for those people, to talk about God. I decided to have a bit of fun with it and re-wrote that passage as if Paul were talking to us here in Melbourne. Here goes:

'Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Mind Body Spirit festival, where they said to him "May we know this new teaching that you are presenting?

You are bringing some strange ideas to our minds, and we want to know what they mean." (For all the people of Melbourne, and all the foreigners whose internet forums and blogs they read, speant most of their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas from Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch and John Edward, amongst others).

Paul then stood up and said to the meeting of the Mind Body Spirit committe: My friends, I can see that in every way you are a very spiritual people. For I have wandered around you alternative spiritualities festivals, seen you interest in the Da Vinci Code, and watched all of your TV shows dealing with spiritual matters. I have been to your bookshops, and read through your internet chat-rooms.

You seem to be searching for something to connect with, something to worship, and I am here to tell you about the one true God.

I have seen your care and concern for creation, and the connection many of you seem to express in nature, the feeling of God that you describe when surfing or looking up at the stars. For the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

He is the giver and sustainer of life "The Source of life' that I hear you speak of. I see you searching for meaning, purpose and direction, well I am here to tell you that there is a divine path set out for each of us. I encourage you to keep searching for God, for God is never far away.

He is the Source, our Connector and through God we find our innermost being.

As your well-loved authors have said "We are all children of God".

Obviously we don't know, but thats what I reckon Paul might have said if he were here today.

14 comments:

¿johnman¿ said...

yeah thats not bad Digger, pretty good mate.

mase said...

hey digs,
that's so awesome. a new perspective on a passage i've never paid a great deal of attention to!
For some reason, in my mind, paul's always sorta been this not-quite-so down to earth kinda guy who gets up in any street and quotes Bible verses (which weren't really Bible verses back then!) or tells the story of Jesus in the same sorta way every time. But clearly this passage shows his validation of the beliefs of the Athenians and him bringing the message of Christ into that. very intriguing.interesting how the Athenians responded too.
Excellent stuff mate, wish i coulda heard the sermon.
catch

Esky said...

Heys, wow lots of words! groovy!
Age is another thing you have to take into consideration hey... But it always seems to be a complicated one with some people being more mature then others at different ages.

Random question:
Do you like talking/preaching/communicating with older or younger people more?

owl said...

This theme is getting a guernsey in a
number of progressive churches lately
- on Sunday (11th at 10 am) Morning I
watched the CCC (Sydney) live service online
(ccc.org.au). The speaker (on after 30 -
40 mins music) preached on the same theme to
the large congregation. Worth a listen for
those who've got time.

Trav said...

Nice Digs, I'm convinced that Paul would.

jarrod said...

nicely contextualised digs. gave me those tingly feelings of inspiration.

Noah Ashbrook said...

Interesting one there digger :)keep up the goood stuff

mase said...

so digs, when's the next Mind Body Spirit festival? ;)

The Rev said...

good job digs

the rev

Digger said...

Thanks guys, I had a lot of fun doing it. Oh definitely younger people esky, just so much easier for me to relate to. Of course that may change as i get older though.

Dunno Mase, ask Jarrod-he has to go for uni. But there's heaps of them on down franga way ;)

jarrod said...

Hey mayo. The big one only happens once a year in melbourne. So that'll be next May. But there are little ones around i believe.

Its fun as! The psychic i saw told me Diggers wife's name would be Mergatroid! Reminded me of my year 7 history teacher Mrs MaBott!

Kitty Cheng said...

Great post mate. Fantastic illustration of contextualisation.

RisingEnergy said...

Did you visit mine yet? Let me know what you think.. **Rising Energy Newsletter** and my website at Rising Energy Reiki and Psychic Healing Art.. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Rising Energy

Anonymous said...

this post is very usefull thx!