There are many changes that occur in our lives that enable us to reflect and take an appropriate new action given the circumstances. These changes in us mean that we come to see God’s Word in a different way. We might see God’s fatherly patience as we move into parenthood. We might question God’s closeness during times of trouble. We might understand God’s faithfulness over the long stretch. Yet these changes occur in the same cultural pattern, they occur in the same cultural grid.
My guess as I head to Cambodia and am faced with a different culture is that my theology will change. I’m assuming I’ll start to read God’s Word in, potentially a Cambodian way. I don’t think I’ll read it as though I was fully Cambodian, but maybe with a Cambodian tinge as though I was wearing Cambodian glasses. I’m assuming it won’t happen overnight and that it will be subtle. But doing properly the reflection cycle of the last post, I’ll read God’s Word differently as I’m shaped by Cambodian culture. That’s kind of exciting; being opened up in a new way to the wonders in God’s Word.
In terms of others, I hope to be able to share this same reflection cycle with those that I meet and those that I end up teaching. My role there will be as more of a counselor. I am hoping to help the students reflect on their own culture and situations and then provide an outside perspective at the right time. In research, this is called the emic (insider) and etic (outsider) perspectives. We all use outside perspectives (well… we should) when faced with a hard situation; we seek advice from a trusted friend. Hopefully, having done the reflection cycle for myself, I’ll be in the best place to help others through it for themselves.