I recently read “Caminemos Con Jesús” by the Latino theologian, Roberto S. Goizueta. A paraphrase of the title might be something like, “Come on, let’s walk with Jesus.” Goizueta emigrated from Cuba as a young man. His theological source is the experience of the Latinos in the US Church. His description of western society and church cut me to the heart because I see it in myself and our churches.
Here are just some of his points:
- Individualism is a concept that is a building block of Western society. In American politics, individualism is illustrated by one person: one vote. (54)
- Belief precedes belonging which leads to a market place type of Christianity. The western church emphasizes personal, individual decisions over belonging to the community. A believer chooses his or her church community. (56)
- The US deeply values money. Therefore, the one person with more money is more valuable than the person with less money. (57)
- We do not value corporate or institutional authority; rather we value the individual’s own authority. Ironically, that leads to people conforming to each other’s opinions and ideas. Those who agree belong, others experience isolation. (58)
- Western community is voluntary and temporary. (59)
Questions to consider:
- How do you think Latin Americans emigrants, who come from a culture of deep and wide community, experience the US Individualistic culture?
- How can a church community identify its cultural norms?
- How do these factors impact a church community and/or small group ministry?
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-21