Sunday, 10 May 2009
Slaves to culture
I went to an evening service tonight at Ayr Baptist church to hear Elaine Storkey, president of Tear Fund speak. Her address was awesome. Using the story of the woman at the well, she spoke about cultural "norms" and how Jesus cut across those. She then spoke of her work with Tear Fund and the shocking cultural norms that she had encountered, particularly in terms of gender. In many countries and regions, women really have little value and violence against women is considered acceptable. She did, however also bring stories of hope, of christian men being challenged by the Holy Spirit to break free from their culture and bring change and of women experiencing compassion and being empowered to bring life to their communities. I need some more time to reflect further on her message. However, it did get me thinking about cultural norms that we tolerate in our western developed society. How easy it is to become enslaved to a culture perhaps simply because we have known nothing else. The same Jesus who met the Samaritan woman at the well and seemingly casually demolished a whole way of life by showing grace and compassion would have his work cut out in our culture today exposing those prejudices that we don't even know we have. A whole host of barriers would come crashing down under the weight of his acceptance. We are all slaves to culture. The good news is that, in Christ, all are loved, valued and accepted. How can we make that a cultural norm?