Following on the heels of my previous post re: summer classes @ Regent College… the above video is a preview of yet another upcoming summer course – this one taught by Soong-Chan Rah, a fellow Covenanter, really hitting on some important issues concerning race that I have been talking about and vibing on for a long time now:
We ended up retreating into our own ethnic communities w/ very little interaction across these different boundaries… and I wonder if we do that with the Gospel as well… at the end of the day we retreat into our own sequestered communities… Cultural captivity means we operate under theological / sociological assumptions… shaped by cultural forces… practicing faith in such a way that we don’t realize how much is Scripture / and how much is the celebrity, big shot evangelical consumer culture we have developed for ourselves… we make superstars out of individuals who might not have much to say… and we end up diminishing the role of immigrants, women, senior citizens… we don’t hear from them.
This is precisely the critique I have felt – especially recently at the Exponential ’13 Conference (yes I am publicly calling you out) which was basically a one-sided perspective on church planting from & for a vastly Anglo, middle-class society. At one point, one of the presenters broke out (on video) in mock Karate Kid antics, poses, noises that really revealed the drastic cultural blind spot of this conference; perhaps this should’ve made another post, but that is precisely what this post is about: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church – and I didn’t see this cultural intelligence at Exponential at all. I just saw one way to reach one demographic in a vastly changing Western landscape. Rah is right; skinny jeans abounded, hip young things platformed on the strength of their few published books, but at the end of the day, there was no depth. Now btw, I must clarify, the opinions written here reflect MINE and MINE ONLY – and I don’t speak for Soong-chan – so this is me – not him – talking. But I was pretty ticked off, enough that I got up and walked out in the midst of thousands of people, in the middle of that session.
Afterwards, I was surrounded by black church planters who were somewhat intrigued and drawn in to me for the fact that I was countenancing an angry asian voice… one African-Am colleague told me “I didn’t know there were angry asian men; angry black men yes, but angry asian men – thank you for raising your voice; I too was offended by what I saw.”
Which brings me back to Regent College <smirk>
This is a class I want to take. I want to talk about this stuff, deal with it, apply it. I think you should too. Church planting for the next 20 years is not going to be about slick missional lingo, theo-jargon and hipster jive; it is going to be about the driving minority voice and growing presence in America of non-white churches, minority evangelicals. Why don’t more people get that?