I have started my dissertation project which is a good thing. Trying to explain it though is kind of difficult. The reason I have such difficult explaining it is because the project address cultural issues and the church’s response.
I have read that there is an old Chinese proverb that says, “If you want to know about water, don’t ask a fish.” For me, that explains the problem I have with explaining my project. I’m sure if I asked a fish, it wouldn’t even know it was swimming in water. It is the same with our culture. Culture is so pervasive that we don’t even know much about it. Our culture is just “how things are.”
My project has to do with the church’s response to culture. Not just the culture we live in, but any culture. In order to respond, we must first take a look at the culture and see how and where it flows against the gospel. This is difficult to do because for most of us, culture is simply “the way things are” and we don’t think too much about it. In fact, throughout our lives we merge the gospel with culture in which we live. The result is we believe that some aspects of our culture are actually biblical even when they are not. This is a difficult thing to discover.
The most biblical response I have found is offered by Missional Ecclesiology (a fancy way to say “thoughts about the church”). A Missional approach to church basically says that we have been sent by God into the world to be an agent, instrument, sign, and foretaste of God’s kingdom. The church (or rather people making up the church) is to understand the differences between the current “kingdoms” (cultures) and God’s kingdom and work to put God’s will and way into practice.
The question that my dissertation attempts to answer is, How can this happen in the life of an individual? In other words, how do we get from where we are (children of our culture…or fish in water) to where we are working and living by God’s will and way?
I hope to be able to explain it better as I work on the project more, but for now, that about sums things up.