Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010) by Soong-Chan Rah
In Many Colors, Soong-Chan Rah aims to equip local churches and their leaders to be better adapted to becoming multiethnic churches by developing cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence and understanding how culture operates in a church community are foundational to any hopes and efforts at building a multicultural church.
The book has three parts. Part I, Understanding Culture, lays the foundation for the rest of the book. It seeks a working definition of culture from a biblical worldview perspective. After drawing from different views of culture, including a biblical perspective, Rah arrives at this definition of culture:
So what is culture? It is a human attempt to understand the world around us. It is the programming that shapes who we are and who we are becoming. It is a social system that is shaped by the individual and that also has the capacity to shape the individual. But it is also the presence of God, the image of God, the mission of God found in the human spirit, soul, and social system. (p. 38)
From my experience, I have found that many disagreements around racial issues revolve around differences between the participants’ definition of what counts as racism and what does not. Hence, I have found George Yancey’s book, Beyond Racial Gridlock: Embracing Mutual Responsibility (IVP 2006), helpful in this regard. Yancey, a Christian sociologist at the University of North Texas, describes in the first part of his book two different definitions of racism and four basic models of racial reconciliation that flows out of them. In this blog, I want to briefly outline them for you. Continue reading “Four Models of Racial Reconciliation”→
Last week, on June 17, 2015, a white man joined a bible study/prayer meeting inside the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and later, shot and killed nine people, including the pastor. It was described as a hate crime.
I almost did not know what to say. As I read, watched and heard the news, I have only sadness. Yet, with the powerful witness of the grieving families, and the resultant show of solidarity in South Carolina, I also have hope.
I feel I need to write something about this, but I don’t think I have anything new to add to what many have already said and wrote on the matter. So, I choose in this post to share with you some of my favorites that I read/watched on the Charleston shooting, that you may be edified.
The phenomenon of speaking in tongues is common among Charismatic-Pentecostal type churches. It is also controversial, even though increasingly accepted in Christianity. Some Christians see the so-called charismatic spiritual gifts like prophecy and tongue speaking as ceased, i.e. the Holy Spirit no longer bestows such gifts to us anymore in this day and age. They argue that these gifts were necessary for the establishment of the early church as recorded in the book of Acts in the Bible but no longer necessary now that the church is well established. These gifts have ceased as they have fulfilled their purpose.
But Charismatic-Pentecostal Christians beg to differ, arguing that we cannot restrict the Holy Spirit and that through their own experiences of prophecy and tongue-speaking, it is evident that God still give these spiritual gifts to his people for his glory. In these churches, it is common to have Christians break out into ecstatic utterances that are believed to be praying in a heavenly or angelic language (or tongue). Those who believe in a “baptism of the Holy Spirit” often see tongue-speaking as evidence of the Spirit’s outpouring on an individual Christian.
In this blog post, I am going to share my thoughts on this supported by my research into Scripture. I will be drawing material from my previously published article, “Speaking in Tongues: A Cross-Cultural View” (The Banner, Sept. 2003, pp. 46-48).
It has been a while since I last blogged due to a variety of reasons. But nothing like a little controversy to stir up the blogging urge!
Last week, news broke all through the Canadian media of a religious accommodation request at York University, where I serve as a campus minister, which violates women’s rights.
Here’s the story: In an online sociology course, a student requested to be exempted from a group assignment, the only in person assignment, because his religious beliefs prevent him from interacting with women, who make up the majority of the course students. The professor, Dr. Grayson, after consulting with religious scholars, and his own department, denied the student’s request with a written explanation. The student accepted the decision and complied.
Last week, I was privileged to attend the Christian Reformed Church’s 2013 Multi-Ethnic Conference. The keynote speaker was Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and former Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. She is a leader in the faith-based economic justice movement in the United States among evangelical Christians. I want to share some highlights from her wonderful keynote speech at the conference.