here in england, white socks are not common place. they might even be out of style here to be honest. this is a wide generality, but almost every person here prefers black socks over white socks. if you take a walk down high street (a nickname for main street) you will notice the entourage of black socks. now, don’t think of me as one who goes around studying the ankles of strangers, that’s just not me. 🙂 Yet, when i first got here i thought it was the weirdest thing ever, in fact, my first knee-jerk reaction was to “buck the system” and just go on wearing white socks. a lot of you know me well enough to know i won’t just follow the culture for culture’s sake, but, at times we are called to live within a culture to reach a culture. now, if i went on wearing white socks i don’t think it would really create such a cultural rift that all of England would be in a white sock tirade. But, this got me thinking….
America is known for its sometimes brash methods of assumption. going into another country and changing their politics. we see this with the Middle East, now America has to go back to the way of the already situated government which was in place for that particular area. Christians have been known by this, there are articles still being written about “us” (i use this term loosely and quite broadly, this is a preview of what the world does with this term)…where we go into other cultures and try to change all relgious aspects of their beliefs, we strip them of their culture, their identity and then promise that Christ will replace it all and is more than enough than how they have lived their lives thus far, for some maybe even 80’s oyears of their lives. Or if in their culture, they don’t have women who are clothed or maybe only partially clothed, we clothe them. we think it is cultural to be clothed. Yet, at one time clothing was a reaction to sin (Please go back to Genesis 3 and read why clothes had to come into the picture). We are on dangerous ground when we assume our culture/mindset is the only way to do life. the only way to see God. When Christianity seeks to be the fix all, it ceases to be Christianity. Jesus didn’t come to fix it all (“In this world you will surely find, trials of many different kinds…”) He came to change our focus. Every interaction you have has its own culture, has it very own life. When you sit down and have a meal with your family, therein lies a culture. When you go and hangout with some friends at a bonfire, therein lies a culture, and when you meet a person who is marginalized, therein lies a culture. And God is there. We must begin asking: “Where is God here?” (All the while realizing God is there, but how?). How do I love them well is the Gospel, not how can i get them saved? (by the way, there is no scriptural stance for us being responsible for the salvation of others; Jesus does say that HE came to seek and save the lost– When He was leaving he does tell us to be intentionally incarnational (be Jesus) through our lives–aka, Making Disciples). That doesn’t mean that you never bring Jesus up into a conversation. But we are told to love people, that is the Gospel. Maybe our culture has really created a Christianity that Jesus did not intend. Maybe our culture isn’t always getting it right. Maybe white socks are acceptable in America, but not here in England. Maybe democracy works in America, but not in some remote region in the African bush. We need to be culturally sensitive enough to know when to “buck the system” and when not too…this is the exciting part of the journey. One you must be willing to take. It may even be a frustrating one, but when is discovery ever so clear, when is mystery ever so decisive…jump in, and jump in with both feet!!!!!