Posts Tagged ‘profrah.com’

Praxis Podcast interview is now online. An interview with Aaron and DG on their Praxis Podcast. Check it out.

LINK: http://praxispodcast.com/episode-39-professor-rah/

A quick note of explanation: In the last section of the interview Aaron and D.G. do a ten questions bit. For some reason, their first question threw me off: “What is your favorite word.” I hesitated then noticed a book on my desk by the David Claerbaut. I said: “Clairvoyant”. So I’m feeling stupid, because I said that clairvoyant was my favorite word. Now my mind is reeling and I flash to a Steve Coulbert episode where he says that his favorite word is Djibouti — because it’s hard to say that word without giggling. So when the next question is asked: “What is your least favorite word?”. I blurt out “booty” — thinking about Stephen Coulbert saying the word “Djibouti”. So now in a Christian podcast interview talking about my very serious book, The Next Evangelicalism, I’ve used the word booty. Nice going. If my faculty colleagues get a hold of this interview, my tenure application is sunk. 🙂

One of my favorite TV shows is LOST.  I love almost every facet of the show.  I love that the cast is very multi-cultural (very Next Evangelicalism).  I love that questions are constantly being raised and not always being answered (very post-modern).  I love that the development of the back story and character development is more central than simply moving the plot along (very good story telling).  But most of all, I love that for the last year I have not seen a single episode at its regular time via broadcast television.  Formerly at the whim and mercy of the networks, the advent of web streaming allows me to take back control and assert power over the medium of television.

Many decades ago, there were actually people who were confounded by the new medium known as television – a magic box that showed moving pictures. In recent years, there were many who were confounded by the advent of the internet.  Some were so confounded that they thought they themselves had actually invented the internet.  (I’m looking at you Al Gore).  Any new technology creates uncertainty, but strangely it also creates opportunities for the redistribution of power.

Eric Law has written extensively on the topic of multi-cultural leadership.  In his landmark work, The Wolf Shall Lie Down with the Lamb, Law asserts that one of the major obstacles to healthy cross-cultural leadership is the difference in how power is perceived by different ethno-cultural groups.  These differences lead to an unequal distribution of power when different ethnic groups attempt to live church life together.

For example, Law finds that the high level of exclusively verbal communication that most Western and American cultures employ, leads to an unfair and imbalanced power dynamic.  As Law explains, “most church leaders use verbal communication exclusively to conduct church affairs. . . .Verbal communication alone is a biased means of communication, favoring people who have a strong sense of individual power and verbal ability – the majority of whom are whites.”  I can remember being in a number of multi-ethnic settings where whites dominated the conversation while many ethnic minorities are left out of the conversation.  Verbal communication is assumed to be the most effective means of communication leading to an imbalanced power distribution.

Law continues by stating that: “in order to enable people of a multicultural community to communicate with each other, we must move beyond using verbal communication exclusively.”  Law asserts that multi-media and group media provides a form of two-way communication that levels the playing field for effective cross-cultural communication.  If media is used effectively and judiciously, we have the opportunity to correct imbalanced power distribution created by American evangelicalism’s cultural captivity.

On this website, we explore not only the meaning of justice in various forms but we must also explore the medium we employ to discuss justice.  “Media, both print and electronic, have always been associated with power distribution.”  The use of multi-media, group media, two-way communication, multi-layered conversation, multi-sensory expression, and alternative expressions becomes an important aspect of power redistribution and a more just form of communication.  We can seek restorative justice by seeking the potential redemptive uses of media and alternative means of communication.

Take back the power.  Go ahead express yourself.

http://www.profrah.com is now live.

This website is dedicated to exploring, understanding, discussing, and strategizing the next evangelicalism. Many of these ideas and concepts can be found in my book, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVP Books, 2009).

One of the central tenets of the book is the recognition that Christianity throughout the world and in the United States is changing dramatically. However, the effectiveness of the Church is limited by the inability to see our cultural captivity, which leads to both a stagnation of vibrant faith and a repeating of bad ecclesiological patterns. This website hopes to provide a space for an authentic conversation about the next evangelicalism.

A few commitments of this website:

* we will strive to provide high quality content that focuses on the role of the church and the Christian community in the areas of urban ministry, multi-ethnic ministry, and justice ministry.

* our unique content can be used by local churches and Christian communities to begin to engage in a dialogue in your particular location.

* we will strive to be the gathering place for prophetic challenges, academic content, practical ideas, and reflective dialogue for those engaged in urban ministry, multi-ethnic ministry, and justice ministry.

Those who have worked to put this website together are dedicated to the ministry of the church and its place in an ever-changing social-cultural context. This space has been created to help churches start the conversation and engage in a way that furthers the dialogue. We want to provide an interactive online community that will encourage Christians all over the world to be effective servants in the areas of urban ministry, multi-ethnic ministry, and justice ministry.