Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First Church of the Anti-Christ

Somewhat predictably, my review of the Aradhna album Amrit Vani has generated a few outraged comments at the Christianity Today website. God knows real Christians don't sing in a language other than English, and don't try to be culturally relevant to people in other parts of the world. If the King James Bible was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for the heathen in India. But I'm more heartened by the comments of those who seem to get it, and who find value in this wonderful music.

11 comments:

John McCollum said...

Idiots, I tell you. Morons and racists.

I almost left a comment on the CT site, but I'm not sure it would help. Other commenters will, I'm sure, carry that water for me.

Sheez.

jackscrow said...

Likewise.

Those first two commenters were very weird.

But, as I read on, it seemed reason had prevailed, so I let it be, let it be, let it be....

mg said...

idiots. those early commenters made me want to swear. it's morons like these that hinder God's love from reaching others.

Michael said...

It seems there are a few people who don't know the difference between Hindi (the language) and Hindu (the religion).

Andy Whitman said...

Sadly, anytime you mix the words "Hindi" (as in the language) and "Christian," there will be one or two people who are convinced that you're trying to undermine the uniqueness of Christianity and convert everyone to a pantheistic, relativistic Satan-fest.

It's unfortunate that some people can't read, and can't distinguish "Hindi" from "Hindu." It's even more unfortunate that some people can't think, and that their knees jerk and their mouths move before their brains are engaged.

Julana said...

Everyone is at a different place in their journey.

John McCollum said...

I think that there is an interesting topic hiding in all of the idiocy -- something about the real and imagined pitfalls of contextualizing Christianity within various cultural contexts.

Andy Whitman said...

John, you're right, there is a worthwhile topic there. I wondered about it when I listened to Aradhna singing about Jesus as "guru." In India, a guru is a revered spiritual teacher, just as a rabbi is a revered spiritual teacher in Judaism. None of us flinch when we hear Jesus referred to as "rabbi," but something in me was startled when I heard Jesus referred to as "guru." That's because in our western culture, and particularly within evangelical culture, a "guru" is somebody who leads people astray, a weird old wrinkled dude in a turban who teaches people to meditate and chant and lose sight of Jesus.

But since Aradhna are clearly singing about Jesus, I had to think about guru in a different light. And I had to recognize that there was nothing inherently wrong in the term, and that if Jesus was much more than a guru, he was also the embodiment of a revered spiritual teacher. The term fit.

It's one of the many reasons I like the album. I'm forced to listen and hear in a different way.

Martin said...

'Avatar' would be another such term, methinks.

Andy Whitman said...

Julana, it's true that everyone is at different places on their journeys. But some people need to move from their current locales. Ignorance and bigotry is not a good neighborhood in which to hang out.

Martin said...

Some people aren't journeying anywhere; they've been stuck in the mud so long they think they belong there.

And some people are journeying up the wrong road.

Regarding contextualization of missions: What would happen if everyone followed Jesus' example, and spent thirty years of immersion in a culture before beginning a public ministry to that culture?