Friday, September 26, 2008

Do you have enough courage?

As a third culture kid this kind of thinking has a deep resonance.

The courage to break his cultural and familial ties and abandon the gods of his ancestors out of allegiance to a God of all families and all cultures was the original Abrahamic revolution. In the same way Christians ‘depart’ from their original culture. Christians can never be first of all Asians or Americans, Russians or Tutsis, and then Christians. Christians take a distance from the gods of their own culture because they give the ultimate allegiance to the God of all cultures and his promised future. But [now in Christ] departure is no longer a spatial category; it takes place within the cultural space one inhabits. It involves neither a modern attempt to build a new heaven out of the world nor a postmodern restlessness that fears to arrive anywhere. When they respond to the call of the gospel they put one foot outside their culture while the other remains firmly planted in it. Christian distance is not flight from one’s original culture, but a new way of living within it because of the new vision of peace and joy in Christ. — Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace
Three observations:
  • For those with no particular "cultural home" the idea of a new way of living within culture(s) (Christs way) is a wonderful source of comfort and a very useful in thinking through issues of identy formation and personhood.
  • The quote links with the thinking I have been doing around our engagment with the world around us.
  • It takes courage to live like this. Prehaps we should talk more about the courage needed. Do you have enough courage? I hope your answer is no.

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