An interesting idea in @AJWTheology's latest blog: American cultural power is reflected in our ability to make ourselves & our issues the plumb line for global conversations.
IOW, the unique shape of US culture wars gets exported. It's not that other countries don't have similar issues (e.g. racial inequity) but that the shape of US racism becomes dominant metric for evaluating justice work in other places.
The risk of this is that other forms of racism & injustice might be overlooked insofar as they don't align with US-centric definitions. But the point is larger than this
I've long thought that American evangelicalism acts the same way in relationship to global evangelicalism. We center ourselves & end up exporting our issues to the degree that it's hard to determine where Americanism ends & evangelicalism begins.
This is how cultural influence works. It's a kind of gravity. The strongest culture/subculture exerts an undue influence on the whole, reshaping in its own likeness. Which explains the significance of the SBC w/in American evangelicalism...
It's true that the SBC is only one part of American evangelicalism. You can find many different expressions of evangelicalism, w/ various nuances. But the SBC is the largest part & as such it exerts a kind of cultural gravity on the rest of American evangelicalism.
I'm not here to evaluate what that means just to say that this is a real thing. It's why what happens in SBC is significant to those outside it. It's why what happens in American evangelicalism is significant to global evangelicalism.
Which is also why we must discipline ourselves to learn from those outside centers of cultural power. The center will naturally exert influence. But those outside center must be sought out if we are to be influenced by them. It won't happen w/out work.

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More from @sometimesalight

11 Mar
Having made hard choices to leave ministries over the years, I have so many thoughts right now. I know many of you are asking Qs about your own church contexts.

One thing I've learned is that faithfulness isn't just about place. It's about obeying the call of God.
When he says, "Go" & you better go. When he says, "Stay" & you better stay.
The Scripture is full of examples of God calling people to leave broken spaces & calling them to remain in broken spaces. There are models for faithfully fulfilling both callings. The key is responding to GOD, not simply your context.
Read 14 tweets
9 Mar
All I have to say is that Beth Moore is a much kinder, wiser person than I am. When I find that people or structures are at odds with me, my first instinct is to make them suffer my presence.
Can I get a witness, @n_d_anderson? 🤣
True confession: Half of my ability to persevere in difficult relationships & ministry placements is pure spite.
Read 6 tweets
9 Mar
A few quibbles, but this is helpful grid to understanding how different facets of (conservative) evangelicalism respond to cultural challenges. Still, it's essential to recognize that each is a *response.* What would it look like for the church to lead in cultural formation?
Obviously, this includes rightly assessing

1) where we are
2) where we need to be and
3) ethical ways to get there.

But I wonder if the biggest cultural challenge evangelicals face is simply a failure of imagination.
A significant part of the division we face is b/c the questions themselves are unresolvable w/in modern, contemporary paradigms. We are at an impasse, a dead end, not simply b/c we don't understand each other but b/c our resources & imagination are limited.
Read 13 tweets
4 Mar
Rt. 40 runs thru my home county in PA & is called the National Road b/c by some definitions, it's the oldest highway in the US, built to facilitate trade & travel w/ the frontier. About 30 minutes from my parents' home, it runs thru a small mountain community called Farmington.
Today, on one side of Rt. 40, you will find New Meadow Run, a community of the Bruderhof, an intentional Christian community of shared work, fellowship, life, & faith.
Opposite New Meadow Run, immediately on the other side of the road, you will find Nemicolan Woodlands, an uber-lux "playground" of the rich that includes hotels, a spa, casino, golf course, & polo fields.
Read 5 tweets
26 Feb
I'll always advocate for knowing one's God-given limits, learning to say no, honoring the needs of body & spirit, but I'm increasingly convinced that self-care is a frame of radical individualism & can never replace community's responsibility to care for each member.
In this sense, self-care is a coping mechanism that happens when communities collapse. It's a necessary, but poor, substitute for the care we should receive from others.
Read 17 tweets
23 Feb
Reading this from @jdgreear while watching others fully commit to the posture he's calling out, I had a thought:…
IME the folks spending the least amount of time preaching the gospel are those spending their time policing whether others "just preach the gospel."
The irony of the "just preach the gospel" stance is how very much time they spend talking about everything else.
Read 9 tweets

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