How [Multi-] Cultural is Your Worship?

A recent online forum called The Network had a stimulating entry on worship and culture, part of which said this: “Should we only worship one way culturally?… Worship should strike a healthy balance among four approaches or dimensions to its cultural context: worship is transcultural (some elements of worship are beyond culture), contextual (worship reflects the culture in which it is offered), cross-cultural (worship breaks barriers of culture through worship), and counter-cultural (worship resists the idolatries of its cultural context}.” The following scriptures were cited to consider: Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal… (read more)

God’s “Share the Wealth” Plan in Action

Tipiloma (“Tip”), one of our Tongan students, told us a story last week about how God’s generous heart moves our hearts to generously spill over onto others. He might not phrase it that way because he’s a truly humble man, but I certainly think that description is appropriate. Here’s the story: Tip’s congregation, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, held a celebration and feast in June for their former pastor, Viliami, who just finished his doctorate. Other Tongan Christians from the area attended–Tongans have a very robust practice of community–and many came from a smaller Salt Lake City congregation, the… (read more)


Is your ethnic culture isolated or integrated? (Yes, even if in the majority/Anglo culture!) If those options aren’t enough, how would you describe your culture’s experience of relating to other cultures in your social demographic? Various experiences have brought this to mind for me. The phrase “invisible minority”–used to describe Asian Americans–has circulated in American journalism for at least a couple decades; I recall a multi-ethnic conference in which an Asian American Christian speaker reminded us of this perception with some pain. These people don’t create a stir or make waves or negative headlines generally, so the rest of us… (read more)

CITIZENS WITHOUT BORDERS So, How ’bout Them Olympic Athletes?!

Somehow the Olympic Games always leave me conflicted, and conversations I’ve had with other Christians (especially “world Christian” types) verify I’m not alone. To what extent–and here the sanctified cynics would add “if any”–do these proceedings glorify God? Do these Games qualify as kingdom business? Does God celebrate the gathering of the nations for peaceable competition, or does He perhaps see it as a resurgence of the Tower of Babel as we humans gather “so that we may make a name for ourselves” (Gen. 11:4)? Can one worship while competing? while spectating? As I said, I’m torn. On the one… (read more)

Toward a Deeper Patriotism

Greetings, fellow kingdom citizens! I figured I’d do just one follow-up entry to the first entry a half-month ago. Please forgive me for my tardiness of a couple days (goal was to post on the 15th). In future, by the way, we on the Vine Institute team will post more frequently: almost daily on Facebook, and I specifically will post on this blog at least weekly. A Facebook friend of mine raised the question “Where’s the line between ethnocentrism and patriotism?” The question seems to me quite provocative, though not very well-focused. I mean, what exactly does she mean by… (read more)

[CITIZENS WITHOUT BORDERS — There’s patriotism, then there’s citizenship, then there’s…

Welcome, friends of the Vine, to our new blogs site! And yes, I fully intend the double entendre: a hearty welcome goes to friends of the Vine himself (Jesus Christ our Lord) and those friends may also be friends of The Vine Institute (TVI). For that matter, here’s even a hearty welcome to anyone just checking us out!   As a new site, necessarily this first post will need to include some orienting words and “ground rules”—you know, what this blog’s about and what’s appropriate behavior for entering the conversation. For now at least, here are the words (remember, it’s… (read more)

Glocal Talk? KingdomCultures? CultureCrossings?…

For all Vine Institute friends and friends-to-be: We’re delighted to announce the launching of a new blog in this space–right here on our website–as a forum to tell stories and discuss issues of intercultural life in Christ. We plan to post a short article or story on the 1st and 15th of the month, so get ready to check in, read up, and then speak up with your own comments. The title above may clue you in: we’re fishing for a name and hopefully, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise,” we’ll have that in place by our first post… (read more)

Utah Refugee Month

What did you learn during Utah refugee Month?

God’s Kingdom without Borders:

Title: God’s Kingdom without Borders:Location: 7762 S. Main Street, MidvaleDescription: Festival of Cultures An event to honor and introduce diverse ethnic Christian Cultures Food &worship from . . . Sudan Tonga America Cambodia Burma VietnamStart Time: 11:00Date: 2011-10-01End Time: 15:00

Open Circle

Title: Open CircleLocation: 803 East 900 South, SLCDescription: Making room at the table [informal gathering to increase awareness of multicultural life and ministries] Bring a potluck dish and a friend. Start Time: 18:00Date: 2011-10-11End Time: 20:00