Encouragement for the Journey
Greetings Fellow Traveller,
Welcome to another Café Church, our theme today is International / Cultural within a NZ setting.
On Tuesday 7 October 2014 at our Presbyterian General Assembly, it was agreed unanimously to adopt a new policy statement that declares the Church to be “a cross-cultural and multicultural Church with a bicultural commitment”. The PCANZ’s web site offered the following comment on this new policy:
“The new policy goes beyond simply recognising that we are multicultural. It is a commitment to crossing over the barriers between cultures in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; it embodies the spirit of creating a church community where there is cross-pollination of new ideas. It reflects our intention to build a church that values, listens to and reflects together upon what each cultural or language group brings to the table. With this statement, we recognise the spiritual insight and cultural richness that can be found in the sharing of experiences, wisdom and learning from many different cultures.”
When I read the above, I find my self in ‘no man’s land.’ I read the policy statement, followed by the subsequent comment, which all sounds very worthwhile and conducive to building harmonious relationships, but, the hard reality is how do I actually make this happen in the real world of my everyday living.
I want acknowledge this is not an easy journey to both live in a multi-cultural society and participate fully in “a cross-cultural and multicultural Church with a bicultural commitment”. At best, I need an awareness of my own beliefs, attitudes and prejudice, which at times prevent me from seeing the Other, as an equal, a child of God, in whom Christ dwells. From this awareness, I need to learn to practice appreciating the beauty, the spiritual wisdom of other cultures and so learn from those who have a different cultural heritage and language to me. This is a learning journey.
Meanwhile peace and wonder in what we may discover and learn from each other, increasing our cultural intelligence and awareness.