I decided to try and pick up where I left off with Missional Church. So I am on chapter 2 which starts with this very rich and thought provoking paragraph:
“The gospel is always conveyed through the medium of culture. It becomes good news to the lost and broken humanity as it is incarnated in the world through God’s sent people, the church. To be faithful to its calling, the church must be contextual, that is, it must be culturally relevant within a specific setting. The church relates constantly and dynamically both to the gospel and to its contextual reality.” (Guder, 18)
Today, when we think of the church being relevant we imagine the megachurch with the incredible graphic arts program and the best band in town. However, I do not believe that is what the author is referring too (although I do not believe that can be completely ruled out either). I believe this goes much deeper than just finding new methodologies. The author goes on to say, “In order to contextualize responsibly, the church must assess its culture critically, discerning and unmasking (deconstructing – my addition) its philosophical foundations and values.” So this issue is much deeper than just using new technology and a great speaker to reach our culture. It requires a very deep understanding of the world around us (and especially within our own Christian culture).
So Chapter 2 is a study of how North American (US and Canada) culture has evolved into its current state. It begins going all the way back to the Enlightenment and analyzing the birth of modern culture. Critically assessing how those ideas have established who we have become, both negatively and positively. The author reminds us at the beginning that this is not something Christians can simply choose to do if we want to truly live out the Gospel in the US, it is something we must do for our own sake as much as for the people we are called to love and reach.
“…because culture is not neutral, this discipline will assist the church to discern how it might be compromising gospel truth as it lives out its obedience to Christ the Lord.”