Helicopter drop-off on the South face of the mountain, approximately 0.25 miles SE of the climbers.
Crawl to an injured victim and free them from debris, then pick them up and carry them to safety. Now that you understand your mission, we provide a gut-kicking workout designed to mimic the physical requirements for each mission. Swim 2000 meters with fins, thrusters, squats, push-ups, sumo deadlift high-pulls, and a 3 mile run. So, what happens when a non-western culture, who is set to embrace the Gospel, is unable to engage Scripture as it is because the Gospel they’ve been given is too overshadowed by the West’s superimposed cultural reading of the Bible? For the Text to be prophetic, it cannot be culturally absolutized by the culture who delivers it. The positive aspects of a culture (to be discovered by the Gospel) are too often replaced by the first cultures’ values – the culture that delivered the Gospel.
Our own paternal insecurities can flare up whenever we are told that just and equal partnerships are preferred over and against our benevolently packaged Gospel formulations. What would it look like to have a real cross-cultural partnership for the benefit of the Gospel?
2) Coming to terms with the implications of our own cultural blind spots and cultural syncretism that directly effects our theological formulations. Once we have come to terms with where to begin, we can humbly submit our contextual reading of Scripture to other cultures, allowing it to speak affirmatively and prophetically to the new culture, yet with its limitations. This entry was posted in Bible, Contextualization, Empire, Evangelicalism, Gospel, Infantilism, Insecurities, Non-Contextualization, Patriarchalism, Zeal by Nathan Smith.
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The funny thing is the Western reading of the Bible doesn’t believe itself to be equal with the authority of Scripture. Otherwise, the positive cultural aspects of the receptor culture will be replaced, demonized or infantilized (more on that later) instead of being affirmed.
We would rather have them demure to our missiological advances than expect a theological partnership.
That question begins, and has to begin every time, with how the Gospel itself is formulated. By undressing the Gospel of our own unnecessary cultural clothing, we can redress the mistakes of the past, allowing us to embed the Gospel, with contextual concern, into the new context. Instead, the Western reading tends to assume that their reading is the best…and many times the most comprehensive over and against other cultural settings or traditions. This also circumvents the ability of the Gospel to prophetically critique the unhealthy aspects of a culture. We need to discontinue holding other cultures under our culturally-absolutized imperial thumb. Too often their cultural categories are demonized because culture and religion are not perceived to be as distinct as they are in the West.
As a result, the West tends to believe that their reading is more authoritative than any other cultural readings of the Bible – meaning that their culture is the most appropriate setting for the Gospel to be understood and submitted to.
Without the ability to affirm and critique, development is arrested, the process of fruitful Gospel reception is stunted or prolonged and the Gospel’s growth is inhibited.


To demonize a religion, or even to oppose it as false, means that good cultural aspects are also being rejected, demeaned or even demonized.
We definitely don’t expect that our partnerships will mean questioning the long-standing theological formulations of the Western tradition. We account for the differences in the fact that the Gospel grows as it encounters new cultural contexts and contextual challenges. Yet it remains deeply embedded in not our only our lack of contextualization and the ignorance of our own syncretism, but also in our historic doctrines, creeds, theology and ecclesiology. We see this same attitude in the way that Rudyard Kiplings’ “White Man’s Burden” operated in his day. At that point, they can be dismissed and then replaced with Western categories that are culturally sanitized and religiously purified.
Particularly in the West we assume too much of our tradition and its supposed benefits for the rest of the world. Very little of this is done with malcontent, but is rather practiced out of a cultural superiority that feigns itself as religious rightness – more from second nature rather than a conscious attitude. In the West, the Gospel apparently has achieved equilibrium and as such we believe it has been finally defined for the rest of the world for their benefit. Instead we gladly engage half-hearted partnerships that regale our Western theological domination, but end up diminishing non-western contextual concerns that transcend missiology and go to the heart of the Western theological traditions – our doctrines.



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