Saturday, August 04, 2007

Speak in a person's native language and they'll listen

I've long been a proponent of churches (or rather, the people IN churches) learning to speak the language of the people they're attempting to reach with the Gospel. It's pretty dumb to decide you're going to be a missionary to, say, Japan, but refuse to speak Japanese or make your message relevant in Japanese culture. The major mistake most early missionaries made was to convert people to Westernization rather than to real Christianity.

When watching Dog Chapman, some folks are seriously turned off because he dresses very oddly and uses quite strong language with the folks he's taking into custody. I know he and his troupe are not perfect people, but I believe that Dog's conversion to Christianity is genuine -- he continues to use rough language because the people he's "ministering to" speak that language, and frankly it's his own native tongue. That's not to say that Dog et. al. won't slip up and fall back into problems. They very likely will. But it's part of the journey, and I'm thankful God lets ALL of us walk with Him. I have a feeling God's "narrow road" encompasses a lot more paths than some of us want to know about.

I drive by the cowboy church in Tioga fairly often, and I hope I get the opportunity to visit it some day. I love the concept, and in this area, it's speaking the heart language of a target people group with the transcendent Gospel of Jesus Christ. Maybe they never sing "All Hail the Pow'r" accompanied by an enormous pipe organ... I don't see that those things are required in Scripture.

I think it's rather humorous when the pastor of a church has a total cow over "contemporary music" but wonders why there aren't any young couples joining his church. Why won't they take a look at those young people's everyday lives? On the way to work in the morning, they probably listen to the classic rock or the alternative radio station. They watch "So You Think You Can Dance" and do the vast majority of their reading on a computer screen. The only time they ever hear hymns is at their grandmother's funeral.

Music styles are very much like languages; people learn to "speak" a particular style and they're comfortable "conversing" in it. Boys who immerse themselves in death metal can understand the words just fine, even though their grandparents can't.


I'm in a severe drought period as far as church and worship go, and it's lasted over a year so far. It's discouraging to see all the green growth vanish and die. The enthusiasm and passion I once embraced has dried up into dead dusty sand, and there's no end in sight. Imagine the ripply waves of heat rising off the endless dunes of the Sahara... that's my soul right now.

The understanding that a desert isn't really "dead" but just dormant -- well, that keeps me going most of the time. Eventually the rains will come again.

I don't need another study course or support group or tent revival or crusade. It doesn't help a sand dune to pour fertilizer granules on it.

Watching the skies for that little cloud the size of a man's hand (I Kings 18:44) which portends the sound of the abundance of rain...

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