Part of the purpose of our journey is to engage in cross-cultural conversation in an intentional manner, as a form of spiritual exercise, with the intention of growing in our Christian faith.
The emerging interconnected world is full of surprise fallouts, particularly in the realm of identity. Sympathies are suddenly trans-national. Entertainment interests can stretch outside of one's mother tongue. People have begun define themselves as unlikely hybrids, using bizarre new hyphenated phrases. These are the consequence of having new opportunities to interact with each other across boundaries that would have been utterly intraversable only a handful of years ago. This new world certainly poses challenges, threats, and difficulties. But it also creates new tools for introspection, self-evaluation, and ultimately, spiritual acesis.
The Gospel Call to Cross-Cultural Conversation
The God of the story of Scripture is a God who crosses boundaries. Out of non-being, he creates everything. He reaches down from heaven to establish relationships with his people.
Finally, he crosses the greatest boundary of all: the gulf between humanity and transcendent deity. As a man, he continued to cross boundaries, visiting the most wretched and the most outcast of his day. In turn, he called his followers to imitate him, and he impelled them cross boundaries, sending them out into the diverse communities of the world with a vision to share his message.
The purpose of these interactions is transformation. This God is on a quest to reform and redeem humanity. He does this directly, through his Son, and indirectly, through his followers. In each case, boundaries are crossed. And the stronger the boundary, the greater the bounty. Thus, the Gospel impels us outward.
Cross-Cultural Conversation as Mutual Transformation
As his followers, when we cross boundaries, we are not merely agents of transformation: we are mutually transformed. In Scripture, we see this most notably in the Book of Acts, as the church institutions open up to non-Jews.