28.7.05

Meeting of hearts

Last night I prayed with a brother. He looks to me as someone to encourage him and he is very dear to my heart, so we get together to pray every so often, weekly if we can. Once he'd finished the pancake a sister saved for him we walked through the rain to the prayer shed at the bottom of the garden. The electricity had been cut off so we fumbled around for some matches and lit a few candles. We talked about a few issues, most of all the constant need to stay close to God and then we prayed. Much of the prayer was for his friends which I was happy about because a lot of them need to find God in a very real way. But it was simply good to be open-hearted together before God and I think we both left with a feeling of euphoria, knowing we had touched the divine and journeyed down the road to becoming disciples a little more.

Times like that are so important.

Earlier in the evening I joined some other brothers and sisters for a conversation on multiculturalism and Kingdom culture. Two of us were Punjabi, I'm mixed race (Caribbean, British) and the other two were English. By Kingdom culture I mean the values and manners we have adopted in our church to express the Kingdom of God. You see we've been told we in Coventry are too 'English' as a church. People from other nations have come among us and said just that. But working out how to change (and whether we want to) is a bit difficult.

It seems that while we want to be multiracial we don't want to be multicultural? Why? Because our emphasis is on being one people in Jesus. I think, on the negative side, thJesus Army brothers together in Londonere's some inherent fear of dealing with other cultures in that statement but it is true that if we are to be New Creation (Jesus Army talk for living regenerated) then it involves shaking of old cultural parameters. That is not to say we get rid of all our customs, far from it, but where they interfere with love, we let love for our brothers and sisters cross the divide. Most of all we want to get rid of some of our Englishness, at least so that we can help Christians from other countries find their spiritual home among us. Our church in London has a very strong mix of cultures and we want to repeat just that. But it does raise some very difficult, perhaps naive, questions, such as:

  • What's wrong with being English?
  • What in the world is Kingdom culture? (Irony intended)
  • How do we shift from looking through our own cultural spectacles to see this issue from Jesus' perspective?

I think in practice the answers are a lot easier than we imagine. When we have Jesus in common it's best to start there and let love rule our course. We'll just work the rest out as we go along. I'll no doubt comment more on it in the future, suffice to say that it was a very excited and rich conversation and it continued as I went to pray with my brother.