RELEVANCE: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
-incarnational living as opposed to attractional
-relevant to Jesus
-method changes, message remains without compromise
-communicating in the language of the culture
Paul’s famous line: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
The idea of being relevant to culture and people is a wonderful idea. In some circles this is called, “contextualization,” the idea that we are taking the gospel and putting it into a context that the receiver will understand. I wrote an essay to get my major approved in college on that very topic.
To often though I think we use this idea of being “Relevant” as justification for fulfilling our own desires. We justify as being “Relevant” our country club membership, boat, drinking, smoking, watching certain movies, going out to eat, and many more things. I think we need to be more skeptical of “relevance” when i is beneficial or pleasurable for ourselves.
Contextualizing is considering that regardless of how direct a translation “washed white as snow” is, it is going to make no sense to someone who has never seen or heard of snow.
Relevance and Contextualization also seeks to recognize that talking to someone about your views on abortion or homosexuality is going to take something other then a “love the sinner, hate the sin,” approach. A person who never had a loving father in their life has no direct context with which to understand God as a “loving father.”
I really like the line above that says: “incarnational living as opposed to attractional,” because that acknowledges that we need to be careful not to cloak our self-gratification in a false effort to be “relevant.”
I love the idea of relevance because it really gets to the nitty gritty. It’s practical, it’s specific, it’s something we can sit and talk about and really take some action on. And I really think we need to spend more time in the church doing that. It seems we spend most of our time talking about abstract, philsophically or touchy-feely things, and then we walk out the door with no real challenge on our lives what so ever. Let’s get dirty and talk about how we can be more relevant to our culture.