Monday, May 22, 2006

The Gospel According to Ottawa

So far, here is what I understand about Canadians in general and Ottawa/Orleans in particular:

1. They generally feel that religion is a private matter.
2. They are reluctant joiners.
3. They stay away from Americanism.
4. They value their freedom first and foremost. Next to freedom they value their friendships/relationships most.
5. They are sexually liberal. Orleans (east Ottawa) is considered to have the highest number of swingers in the area.
6. They have more confidence in religious leaders than in politcal leaders.
7. They value being loved and appreciated.
8. They see themselves as spiritual in a personal and private way.
9. They are spiritually open.
10. Their questions on life and death have not been addressed by the church.

With this in mind, the gospel must be contextualized to the Canadian mindset/culture. I propose the following approach.

The gospel must be presented as the power of God to address deeper heart issues. Canadians must be shown that the roots of personal and social damage is found in the hearts of men and women. And that the only solution to healing those roots is the cross of Jesus Christ. Sin must be presented not only as something to take responsibility for but also as a destrutcive force that other people and social systems have enacted against them. In other words, the gospel must also be the solution to the sins committed against them as well as the solution to the sins they themsleves have committed.

Sin must be postioned as spiritual choices made personally and by others that hinder their deepest personal freedoms and stunt their personal development. Canadians must be made to understand that there is a social dimension to sin; that sin damages culture a well as individual souls.

The response to the gospel must be threefold: personal, public, and purposeful. This is to say that Canadians must be called to personally follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. And that following him means entering into intentional community with people in His church. But that intentional community and personal faith has a missional purpose which calls each Canadian to go beyond their cultural comfort zones and influence others for Jesus Christ.

This Canadian gospel must be communicated through at least 2 primary means: public proclamation where the cross is central to every message (see my entry on Christ-Centred Preaching) and through the practice of missional hospitality/friendship-building with disconnected people.

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