In every generation of the church, since the day Jesus first launched it, his followers Have been pressured to conform to the surrounding society’s dominant ways of thinking and living, ways so often utterly contrary to God’s ways.
The power of this dominant culture to impact upon our values, our behaviour, our politics, upon how we see the world, and even upon the way we understand our own faith and interpret our sacred texts, has been likened to the power of gravity.
Paul was clearly keenly aware of the danger of this, and his astounding letter to the small community of Christians embedded in the belly of the Roman Empire included at its heart an urgent challenge: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God remould your minds from within…” (12:2, Phillips translation).
Clearly we all need to be vigilant in this regard. I need to be vigilant! And the MTD provides me with some wonderful assistance in this regard. First, because the small MTD learning community is a global one we expose one another to dramatically different perspectives and different ways of reading and understanding the Scriptures. For example, students who come from strongly communal cultures are less likely to read the Bible through the individualistic lens of your average Western Christian.
Second, the cultural diversity of the MTD community, combined with the importance of ensuring that our studies are contextually relevant, means it is imperative to include non-Western authors in our reading. Inevitably, they open my eyes to dimensions of Biblical teaching, and the application of that teaching, that previously I had only seen dimly or not at all. Let me mention just one such writer: Vinoth Ramachandra. He frequently crops up in our MTD reading. If you would like a wee taste I encourage you to visit his blog site https://vinothramachandra.wordpress.com/about/
I can confidently predict that you will experience a disturbing blend of challenge, inspiration and discomfort!
About Steve Bradbury
Steve Bradbury is the Director of the Micah 6:8 Centre and Lecturer in Transformational Development at Eastern College Australia. Find out more about the Masters of Transformational Development