Monday, November 14, 2005

The God of Culture

This past week I have been reading research papers. In my class on cultural anthropology the students are required to choose a people group, do a detailed library research on that people group and come up with a hypothesis on how they might present the Good News to them in a culturally relevant way. Some of the people groups include the migrants moving into New Delhi (why they move to urban areas and the challenges they face when they arrive); Muslims who live on the coast; prostitutes (who are now given the politically correct title as commercial sex trade traffickers) and the disabled. It’s been interesting reading as I learn more about the culture of the varied people in the country.

My role, as a teacher and consultant, is to create a thirst for others to learn and love mosaic of people that God has created. I never tire of learning why people do what they do and how they organize their life. All mankind manipulate their social environment so they can cope with this thing called life. Some cultures have very strong family bonds and their ethnicity or their caste provides them the security they long for in a hostile and cruel world we live in. Others are motivated by pure economics, either to just get by or to collect as much stuff as they possibly can get. Many, most, find religion as the foundation of their being, though some religions operate from the fear of the gods they serve or the unidentified forces they believe control their world. What strikes me as I study culture is how similar we all are, yet so diverse.

It may be true that all roads lead toward heaven, but not all roads actually lead to God. There is a way that seems right to man, the Scriptures tells us, but in the end it leads to death. The key, for all man, is to find the way that is right by Him. That way, God’s way, is hard to find when we are prisoners in our own culture. I pray that my students will learn to love the culture that God has created and in it present the Way that leads to a God who is not be feared but to be loved, for He first loved us.