Intergenerational meets Intercultural PART 2
Kingdom Values vs Cultural Values
By Robin Yang
I’m writing to continue pondering on how discipleship looks in the intersectionality of the intercultural and intergenerational spaces.
Every discipleship framework, and indeed almost everything related to faith and life, places values as the core. These values are the centre around which orbits everything else. The Intergenerational framework places mutuality, reciprocity and equality as core values.
Since my last post, I was curious to hear language that distinguishes between kingdom and cultural values. I have heard these before but applying them into this conversation raises some interesting and provocative questions. Before listing these, let me offer my definition of these two values.
- A kingdom value could be actions and beliefs derived from the teachings of Christ. Eg. love and compassion.
- A cultural value might be actions and beliefs where the majority of people living in community at the same time may think, believe and do. Eg. funeral rituals.
The case has been made that intergenerational values of mutality, reciprocity and equality are kingdom values. The intergenerational literature certainly makes the case for this and therefore one could argue these three values should be embedded into every discipleship framework we use in the 21 century. Needless to say we are far from this reality at present.
Does this mean then that these kingdom values transcend cultural values? Are churches who do not believe or practise these same kingdom values doing discipleship wrong or less effectively? Certainly many would agree that love and compassion transcend all cultural values that sit in opposition to love. But what does it look like when we apply these intergenerational values alongside cultural values such as Eastern and Pacific cultures that do not understand these values in the same way?
If we agree that these values are kingdom values, then it raises the larger question of how gospel critiques culture, who has the right to do this critiquing and should this not become the primary intercultural task within the church?
Alternatively, if we argue these intergenerational values do not transcend cultural values, then that would mean lifelong faith formation and discipleship has many flavours, styles and colours. Generational, intergenerational and other faith formation models and frameworks then sit alongside each other as contextually and culturally relevant. The church would then need to change the way it names and thinks about intergenerational language and find other vocabulary.
This conversation is far more nuanced than what I have written. Indeed I have attempted to place two posts at either end of the metaphorical field. I invite you to share your thoughts and responses to stimulate our thinking and conversations.