January 11, 2010

Brazilian Stamp of the Week: Garantido and Caprichoso

In light of our upcoming trip to the state of Maranhão I thought I would feature a stamp that reflects the culture of that state.

caprichoso

Now, truth be told, what the stamp is showing is actually a celebration that takes place in the Amazon city of Parintins. However, this is one of the many manifestations of a tradition that has it's origin in the state of Maranhão.

Rather than give you the background to the festival here, you can read about it in an article I wrote a few years ago. The video link is broken in that post, so here it is via YouTube:

Talk back to the missionary: Have you ever considered what guidelines missionaries could follow in deciding which cultural manifestations can be used for the Gospel and which are "off limits"? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.


Posted by Andrew on January 11, 2010 2:06 PM.

Comments

I would think that a missionary's intent should not be to "westernize" the converts be solely offering a worship style that reflects how that missionary might have worshiped in the states and I would hope that the missionary would strive to keep the authentic natural feel of the country in mind when selecting what things to incooperate. However, by the same token, not all customes are God honoring and therefore it would behoove the missionary to research the means and history of the customes he wishes to include. God warned the Isrealites that they ought not to worship as the heathens. This same warning is still true of ALL christians today. A few evaluation questions to consider might be: 1) Who is being honored? 2)Does it glorify the flesh by hyping emotions, thrill, ect. 3)What are the means of the symbols, sounds, and terms that will be used? 4)Does it give the appearance of evil (sin) Of course there are more questions that maybe need to be asked, but I think I have communicated my point. In a nutshell: We are in the world, but are not of the world. That is to say, somethings found in the world are fine to use in worship where as others are clearly worldly and have no place in the ministry.

Posted by: Lora at January 12, 2010 1:31 AM

I agree with Ms. Lora's comments regarding missionary's approach with regards to which manifestations of this culture can be used for the Gospel. Having met Itacyira who is a native of Brazil, she would be more sensitive to this kind of culture and would perhaps with her being a born again christian woman,can be a very good resource.

Posted by: tim baylen at January 12, 2010 5:01 PM

Wow Lora! I think you have thought this through more than some missionaries! I can't say as I disagree with any of the points to mention.

Your comment on "hyping emotions" interested me. I believe the gospel (Christ's substitutionary death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection) should elicit, naturally, certain emotions. Our problem comes when we seek the emotions without the gospel--"getting the cart before the horse" so to speak. Somehow we have to strike a balance between encouraging those healthy emotions (what Jonathan Edwards called "affections") and discouraging the shallow, artificial ones.

I know that is somewhat off topic from the original question I asked, but your comment prompted that line of thought.

Posted by: Andrew Author Profile Page at January 14, 2010 11:31 AM

Tim,

You are right, it is a definite advantage being married to my own personal "cultural consultant".

Posted by: Andrew Author Profile Page at January 14, 2010 11:32 AM

I completely agree with you, Andrew, about needing to find a balance of emotions in worship. I believe that a Christian who has proper fellowship with the Lord not just SHOULD have a display of affections (to use your term), but WILL have have them. This is not to say that I am condoning the radical outpouring of emotions, such as "holy laughter" or being slain in the spirit, for these are nothing more than physically enduced moments which glorify the flesh. However, by the same token, I believe that when a believer can sit in a God honoring service and not have the embers of his heart stirred within him there is just as much an err in his worship as there was in the former. It is a frightening thing to see appathy creep into the church. When considering the topic, I am reminded of the warning to the churches in Revelations and believe upon studying this that it is evident that God is just as displeased with extremes as He is with mediocracy. It is important to keep in mind that worship is NOT what can I get, but what can I give.
(AND yes....although it is a bit off your orginal question, I too couldn't resist expounding on the point either.)

Posted by: Lora at January 15, 2010 1:52 AM

It is my earnest contention that correct doctrine--effectively presented--cannot help but elicit in the heart of the believer (or the unbeliever upon whom the Holy Spirit is acting) a stirring of strong emotion. Unfortunately here in Brazil many PINO (Protestant In Name Only) denominations seek the emotions without concerning themselves with the doctrine. This has caused an opposite reaction among many Fundamental groups, who seek to present a doctrine so dry it smothers any possible emotional response. They also tend to focus their "attacks" on the various emotional demonstrations of the PINOs, instead of the much graver doctrinal aberrations.

It is our prayer that, when God gives us the opportunity to start a church, we will be able to strike a biblical balance.

Oh, and don't worry about getting "off topic". If we were getting 20+ comments per post it might be an issue. As it is, someone could start talking about the French and Indian war here and I probably wouldn't mind.

Posted by: Andrew Author Profile Page at January 15, 2010 12:17 PM