- by Annie Mesaros -
For most of my life, I have taken scripture for granted. Not only the pages and words themselves, but the cultural implications embodied in the reading and understanding of it. It’s obvious that Jesus and his group of misfit sidekicks live in a very different culture from my own, I mean, obviously, but I viewed that as an experience limited to two cultures: mine and theirs. That is, until I lived in Papua, the far eastern reaches of Indonesia, for a year, where as an outsider I could take nothing for granted.
The Christians I lived, worked, and worshipped with there brought their own cultural understanding to the gospel and helped me realize that I do the same. I can’t help it, we all do.
We’re reading the same book, translated by different people with different cultural biases and worldviews, and living it out in ways that make sense to us, which is sometimes different from one another and sometimes not. And yet none of us are “more Christian” than another (whatever that means, but it seems to be a twisted value many of us hold).
This mural is on the wall behind the pulpit at the church I attended in Abepura, Papua:
The Last Supper, depicted with disciples of different ethnicities and genders. The astute viewer may have noticed there are only eleven disciples. Where is the twelfth? It’s me. (Or in your case, you.)