” From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth;…determining the time and exact place for them to be… God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out to him and find him, though he is not far from each of us”. Acts 17:26-27
He has given every man the opportunity to seek him, has placed eternity in our hearts and to our surprise, we find Him nearer than our very thoughts…. in our very hearts, moving things around, changing us into His likeness, leaving no corner of us or this earth with out the presence of His light touching it.
I think knowing and living out cultural specific evangelism will take some time. Though we are all dedicated to discussing this topic for a mere 8 weeks… I don’t expect to have “figured it all out” by the end of this. We can trust God to do the work though. We are only useful if and when in total dependence on Him.
The question that came straight to my mind while reading these verses in Acts and reading the cultural theology part 1 was, ” How many of us were brought to Christ by some one whom we could identify with personally and culturally”? It is certainly true for me. I was brought to Christ (despite thinking I was already saved because I grew up in the church and loved God) by a Japanese-Hawaiian friend, Kimie Bidal, who consistently took the time to pour into our relationship and treated me as friend. Her faithfulness and gentle, un-judgmental persistence spoke strongly to me. It has remained a vivid image for me on how to do ministry. Jesus attended cultural activities and parties and even faced judgement and shaming for doing so… but He was incredibly relevant and real to those He spent time with. He loved the lot of them , being lost, so much that He went the extra mile to identify with them culturally. Culture and scripture will always be in conflict I think… but culture must always remain in the judgement of scripture. I hope to hold onto this in discerning when to say yes to invitations to be with others on their journey to meeting Jesus. God has shown me time and time again that relationships are cultivated; like planting… they require humility, tender care, willingness to be available, endurance, time, dependence on God, and patience. Its Gods work to water and make it grow but I can do my part to labor in the fields that are ready for harvest.
Lastly having ” come from one man..” we are all made in His image, bearing His creative artistry, no two identical, but made in His likeness, and all longing for a relationship with God in some form or function. I have appreciated Kikawa sensei`s consistent reminder that we have more commonalities to share than the differences with others.