So, what did I mean when I said we (the church) need to learn to resonate rather than seeking to be relevant... a few people have made mention of the words I wrote in the "Entrepreneurs and Mission" post... I guess it is a simple idea really, rather than seeking to emulate culture in a desire to be acceptable or attractive (wearing the clothes of culture) at best superficial at worst abusive, of both culture and people... to say nothing of false advertising... we need to resonate, to live by the rhythms of the culture we live in, to understand the roots of culture and the context of individuals (not just seek to meet needs), Paul in Acts 17 sets a pattern for us on his trip to Athens;
a) He takes time to walk around the city, looking, listening and learning (I'm always reminded of the advice given to children when crossing roads - Stop, Look, Listen!) ... it saddens him not because they are so far away but because, I believe, he sees just how close they are, how close God is (he goes on to tell them this)
b) He doesn't just look for 'needs to meet' he tries to understand the story, the history, the roots of the culture
c) He dwells in their place, a 'third place' actually - public, organic, a community place/space
d) He affirms them, their spirituality, their culture and yet challenges them to take it to a radical new place... BUT, not his place but God's place
e) He speaks to them not just in the words of their culture (the superficial) but in the language of their culture, their poetry - the cultural blood that bubbles in their veins, the narratives that underpin their identity
f) He encourages/challenges them that all orthopraxy is human and cannot encapsulate or contain God, that all structures and edifices - material and cultural - are flawed. He calls them not to a Religion, or a sacralised cultural expression (or even culture) but to a God who is closer than we ALL think!
g) Paul seems to have had a deep understanding of the people, their story, their context and when and where people held out there hand (from where they were!) and new communities emerged they truly reflected their context and Paul argued for their right to stand as followers and communities of Christ in their own way - indigenous communities seeking and relating to an incarnate God.
For me Matthew 13v33 [The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.] also gives a sense of being so enfolded in culture that we are almost invisible to the naked eye, in order to be transformational, and in doing so being combined at a deep level with culture and individuals and being transformed also! To resonate therefore means being truly and deeply incarnational in order to be transformational... for the Kingdom of God is close at hand!