Thursday, January 27, 2011

From the Bible Belt to Bozemania - part 2

When I last left an entry, it seemed as if I was 'dogging' Brownwood, Texas. Not true. Many of the churches in that community are attempting to connect with others in a culturally relevant and authentically 'New Testament' fashion. The Bible Belt culture simply makes it more difficult to do so. Thus said, I was making a comment about the culture in which much of the south is mired. Many of America's seminaries are located in the South, and many of them continue to train students as if all of the United States reflect the Bible Belt approach to the church. This is a serious problem. The culture is changing, the church is changing and thus theological education must adapt.

The Bible Belt and Bozemania have one important thing in common: people. People still yearn to understand the ineffable. They seek answers to the greater questions of life and the possibility of existence after death. They crave acceptance, forgiveness and love. This aspect of being human would seem to be universal.

In a culture that is not bound by the assumptions and theological considerations of the Bible Belt, there is a much greater chance that disciples will move beyond superficial understandings of salvation and the church. Indeed, explosive church growth in third world countries and the coastal and urban communities of the United States suggest this might be the case.

To the point: I am now outside of the Bible Belt. The ministry opportunities are challenging, yet invigorating. God is at work in a way I have not seen in quite some time. And so I pray for my friends in Brownwood and the work of the gospel that goes on there. I look forward to the day when they can join me in the 'fields of the Lord' in Montana - where the harvest is ready!

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