Roots and Culture Series
Roots and Culture Part 2 was published in the January 2012 issue of HM Magazine. I'll be reposting each column here around the time the following issue is released. As always, comments, suggestions and flame mail are always... entertained...
Welcome to Chameleon Church...
Roots & Culture
of Olive Trees & Wild Branches
In Part 1 I shared my Punk Rock history, (which also includes Alternative, a category once used to delineate music outside the mainstream), my frustration with genre hybrids and musical counterfeits, and how time has buried the essence of both Punk and Alternative deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion.
I stated that this same “disregard” for authenticity can be applied to our faith and how centuries’ worth of theological and doctrinal hybrids and counterfeits characterize our faith today. I suggested that time and culture have buried the essence of our faith deep below the sands of conjecture and opinion. A faith, once synonymous with a specific Root and Culture (much like the Ramones or the Sex Pistols defined Punk Rock), has given way to roots and culture seeped in hybrid manifestations much like Dave Matthews’ “Alternative” genre categorization - a far cry from Bauhaus or Siouxsie and the Banshees, artists that birthed the genre.
The same must be said of our faith.
In Acts 24:14, Paul, in defense of his faith, states: “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.” (NKJV) Christianity, the Way, was considered a sect of Judaism that included the belief of “all things which are written in the Torah (‘law’) of Moses”. It is on this original definition of Christianity that I propose that:
- Scripturally, this “Way”
- was to the Jew first and then the gentile
- was taught, modeled and embodied by Jesus, the Jewish Messiah
- was followed by Paul and the original disciples
- is intended to be practiced and rooted in ‘all things which are written in the Torah of Moses and in the Prophets’, and that
Our understanding and application of the biblical roots of our faith would breathe new sound scriptural Life into the Covenant relationship bought for us with the shed Blood of the Lamb.
Romans 11 establishes this root system, our role as wild olive branches, and our responsibilities as branches grafted into the cultivated Olive Tree of the House of Israel.
“…don't boast as if you were better than the branches (Jews)! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root (Israel), the root is supporting you. So you (gentiles) will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust (Jesus). However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don't be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified! For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won't spare you! So take a good look at God's kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God's kindness toward you - provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off!” Romans 11:18-22
Paul continues, “… you had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Israel. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God's promise. You were in this world without hope and without God. But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah's blood.” Ephesians 2:12-13 (emphasis mine)