Context. It’s the from AND the to AND the always.
What changed in the tattooing world in the last 4000 years?
What changed in the fashion world in the last 100?
What has changed in communication in the last 6 months?
well… the answer to most of those questions starts with the “where?” and the “how?”
In some parts of the world, tattooing hasn’t changed a ton because it’s heavily connected with religious ritual. Whereas in other parts, it is a part of belonging or being rejected from social gathering.
Fashion is heavily glued with capitalism in some areas, ritual in others, practicality in others. But in 100 years the technology has changed and preference has changed sooo much. So the “how?” enables us also to buy a lo more clothes, and therefore have a lot more choice.
The speed at which apps are invented and used by millions of people means that we are adding new verbs to our vocabulary all of the time. And as language grows and changes, regionally the “what?” never stays the same for long.
If we are following a book written 4000/2000/0 years ago. The context it was written in, the universality of its principles and then our own specific context needs to be deeply thought about. and deeply engaged with, in our own personal journeys.
One of my issues with the international Church is that I can walk into a church in Australia, Sweden, Cambodia and Lithuania and the only difference is the words we use to represent the exact same order, the exact same songs, the exact same repeating weekly schedule.
And yes, humans are largely the same. But, human cultural and communal need are vastly different. My household that I lived in for 4 years in Canberras southern suburbs had a very different life pulse than the farm I lived on in Sweden.
Should not the church expression be radically different? Should not the people how profess to know the creator of the world also know how to deeply bless and empower the community around them? As opposed to carbon copying something they saw someone else do?
Yesterday, for the hundredth time. (or whatever) someone saw my tattoos and asked, “So you go them before you knew Jesus right?” An innocent question, with no malice. And after telling him that I even felt that God told me to get one of my tattoos his mind was blown. He stammered over some words and ended up repeating “I’m going to have to think about that”
In my opinion, a terrible reading of scripture has bound our young people to look on tattoos like they are directly from the devil. A terrible reading of tradition and culture has bound all of our people to look at technical metalcore as music sung exclusively by demons of death and that women are somehow less able to lead things during our two-hour church services than men are.
I don’t like it. I don’t like how ignorant our ignorance makes God look. God isn’t ignorant. God doesn’t even ignore culture. He, for all of scripture, empowered it. He knew we wouldn’t be perfect all of the time, so he put fail safes inside our cultures to grow with it. His universal principles are beautiful. If only we would risk our own comfort to try them out.
What does your outlying community actually need from the hope that God gives us? and how do we change our traditional shape to paint this world with love, more than death?