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Contextualizing in Blaséburg

Picture being called to live out your Christian life in Blaséburg. Blaséburg is a materialist’s paradise. Food is abundant and cheap, clothing and housing affordable, and labor-saving devices and gadgets fill up the empty spaces in most houses, large as they are. Blaséburg is cushioned from the brevity and harshness of life of many other places in the world by several social, economic and military realities, most of which the average citizen of Blaséburg will never know about. After all, his thoughts are occupied with matters such as who will drive the children to the next recreational event, which DVD to rent or buy for Friday night, and how to pay the various service providers that will maintain his creature comforts.

The most conspicuous difference between Blaséburg and other places is that, for several historical reasons, the citizens use only two adjectives, one positive and one negative. “Nice” is used to express all manner of admiration, pleasure, excellence, as well as every possible positive emotion or experience. Whether the idea be one of awe, or one of fun, nice is the catch-all word. “Nasty” is the only word used to describe all that is negative, and comprehends such different ideas as terrifying and irritatingtasteless and threateninghorrifying and inferior.

Given the average experience of the people of Blaséburg, and given their vocabulary, here are some questions to consider:

  1. How will you explain the Gospel to them, using their vocabulary, and their experience?
  2. How will you explain Christian discipleship to them, using their vocabulary, and their experience?
  3. How will you teach them to worship, using their vocabulary, and their experience?
READ
Counter-Contextualization

Or to use the fashionable jargon, how will you contextualize Christianity for these people?

David de Bruyn

About David de Bruyn

David de Bruyn pastors New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 1999, he has presented a weekly radio program that is heard throughout much of central South Africa. He also blogs at Churches Without Chests.

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