Christianity contracts context
11 February 2009 1 Comment
Here’s a little more from Betty Spackman’s A Profound Weakness: Christians and kitsch. This will be a review, mostly, for regular readers.
Christians (and other groups that adhere to particular traditions) often feel persecuted when someone misinterprets them, instead of realizing that without the same set of references it’s not possible for others to understand them.
I always thought this, particularly with regard to street preachers on campus in college. They threw Biblical terminology into the crowds that likely just skated over most non-Christian heads. “You’ve gotta use their vernacular,” their set of references, I used to think.
If a group chooses not to change how it expresses its beliefs, it risks misinterpretation and isolation. And isolation is not an option for the Christian community. It can, in fact, promote an incestuous arrogance. To ‘ghettoize’ our faith simply because we want to hang on to the past is as problematic as the risk of losing meaning through what we may perceive as the watering-down of ideas through new expressions of them.
The Church has wormed its way out of this self-imposed ghetto Spackman is referring to here, to a degree, over the past ten years or so. We now have things like the Emerging Church Movement (emphasis on the word “movement”) and Relevant Magazine. Christians are beginning to see the need to communicate in context.
Adding: For an articulate elaboration on this topic, see Tim Jones’ post over at Jimmy Akin’s blog.