Sunday, October 07, 2007

Culture in the church

Working with churches in another country, or even another culture is always interesting, but it requires some flexability.
Here is a picture of some of the members in the church in San Isidro, Dominican Republic. I preached here twice recently and I noticed how much the background of the brethren has influenced their worship. You probably already noticed that all the women have some kind of covering--most of these brethren came from a Pentecostal background and the Pentecostals there teach a woman should wear a veil, not wear pants or jewelry, much less make up. This background also affects their worship--each man who reaches the podium must first shout, "Who lives? Christ!" and there are many "Gloria a Dios" and "amen". They are very involved in the worship service, which is certainly not a bad thing.
But there was something else I noticed--the singing. Most churches in the Caribbean sing loud--they don't even know when I sing "wrong", but the men here sing particularly loud, almost shouting. I puzzled on that for a song or two then remembered that they are almost all military men--active or retired. Immediately I pictured a drill sgt. shouting "I can't hear you!", which explained why they sing soooo loud.
The beauty of the Gospel is that it can be taught and obeyed in any culture--you don't have to know Greek (or Arabic like some religions teach). You don't have to be an American or adopt American ways. All you have to do is do what God says, in your culture.

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