Anything Good Out of “Hicksville”?
|“We will at all times seek to be sensitive to, and discerning of the differences in our cultures we serve.”|
by Geir Engøy –
Cross Cultural Ministries Secretary
“Remember the Alamodome!” An old battle cry took on a new twist when San Antonio’s professional basketball team clinched their first NBA championship. Referring to them as the “cowpokes,” some big city sports journalists had a hard time accepting this provincial winner…can anything good come out of San Antonio?
Long before anyone was puzzled by NBA greatness to emerge from San Antonio, Tx., the spiritual and intellectual elite of Jerusalem looked down their noses at the peripheral town of Nazareth…can anything good come out of Nazareth?
Many people still seem to have a hard time recognizing anything of quality from “Hicksville.” Ethnocentrists find redeeming value in other cultures only to the degree that those cultures measure up to their own. Their own position becomes the measuring rod for the validity of others.
Much of Western culture may have its foundations in the Bible, but the climate between Western and non-Western societies is one where the roles have, by and large, been reversed. There is greater Christian growth and more Acts-like manifestations among Christians in the non-Western world. In a society like ours, where ‘tolerance’ at all costs (!) has relegated the zeal of Christian witness to only stressing the first letter of that word–and the last of the English alphabet–over and over, the Good News is emerging stronger from “backward” places. Those believers may be located in the hinterland and be referred to in less than flattering terms, but they are willing to take a stand in the face of adversity which we can only begin to imagine.
To those who take the trouble to peer underneath the surface of the kaleidoscopic humanity in our neighborhoods, what comes out of San Antonio or Nazareth will be no surprise. God delights in manifesting himself through forms and from places we consider beneath him. The stable under the Star of Bethlehem appears in many updated versions today. Look for them in your neighborhood. We do well to pay them regular visits.