Friday, April 16, 2010

if I have all metaphors for love, but don't eat worms...

I came across an interesting story about William Reyburn in an unlikely demonstration of love:
When asked to eat singed caterpillars, Reyburn rose to the challenge and ate.  When he did, the people said, "White man Kaka is eating caterpillars.  He really has a black heart."  The pans were emptied.  Each one took a mouthful of water, rinsed his mouth and spat the water to one side, belched loudly, said "thank you, Ndjambie (God)", arose and departed.  My notes on that night contain this one line: "an emptied pan of caterpillars is more convincing than all the empty metaphors of love which missionaries are prone to expend on the heathen." (William Reyburn, Meaning Across Cultures, 1981, pg 473.)
I am constantly shocked by pastors and missionaries who essentially reject--if not hate--their host culture, be it their home culture or their target culture.  These people have a martyr complex for "suffering for Jesus."  That complex taints their ministry and effectiveness.  There are certainly things in all cultures which would irritate the daylights out of any sane person.  However, what if loving these "irritants" and "undesirables" is the key to communicating the love of God and the truth of the gospel in a true and compelling way?  Are we willing to be like Jesus and be fully incarnational?  Our cultures did more than vex him!

Worms anyone?

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