Here's a question I've pondered. Which came first? The Jewish culture or God's instruction? Here's what I've discovered: it's definitely a both/and. Why's this important? It's important because the Christian faith is not a free-for-all. Although God is certainly sensitive to cultures, hence the incarnation of Christ, God's instruction beckons a new politic, a way of life that transcends human preferences and ushers in the Kingdom.
In light of the above, I must ask myself, Why does my house church structure itself the way it does? Basically, we meet once a week, call and email each other in between, and gather during special occasions, say birthday parties or biblical holidays. And frankly, I'm the worst at it. My life is so scheduled.
Although I don't beat myself over the head, I admit my way of life is too "white," too American. As an observer of people (the anthropologist in me), other cultures seem closer to God's ideal. For instance, the Bible tells us of a people that regularly rested, thus allowing time to reflect on God's goodness and time to be together. As the above excerpt suggests, whites are notoriously bad at living in community while other cultures seem to "get it."
One of the mantras of the church today is contextualize! Let's be relevant, some say. And I say, Since when is God's way of doing things irrelevant? It's not. True, God's way may be at odds with my selfish nature. I have a tendency to want things my way and I can push, often subtly, that way onto others in my community.
But that's not what God wants, is it? He wants obedience. Is God sensitive to cultures? Absolutely, but a careful reading of the Scriptures suggests God doesn't capitulate to cultures. No, God is unchanging. So, here's the point. Don't let your cultural biases dictate the right way to do church. Instead, while recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of all cultures, let's leave the old behind and walk anew in a new regime. After all, it's a Kingdom (with a King), not a democracy.