On the 4th of July 2015, ICAS had its annual retreat at the Hephzibah Christian Centre at Peduase in the Eastern region. The day started off beautifully, beginning with the picking up of each member from an agreed location. Anane picked up the Ameyaws(Sarah and Kwabena) from Spintex, then they picked up Ibrahim at Legon and then they picked up my good self at the Ashalebotwe junction at approximately 8:50. The weather quickly skipped from a sudden downpour of rain to a slight drizzle. From my junction, we drove off to pick up Asare at the Okponglo Ecobank, stopping over at Krystel’s Patisserie at Adjiriganor to grab some sumptuous pastries. The day was beginning on a veery good note if you ask me! Asare hadn’t been able to finish up his business at the bank, so we said our quick ” see you laters”; he was going to join us at Hepzibah as soon as he finished up. Grace was going to join us at the centre later as well.
So the journey began with conversations flowing in from all angles. We watched videos about how the African-American Church had lost its purpose in the car. I for one wouldn’t forget how a man was delivered from his homosexuality, and the testimony he gave in church! He testified that he loved women, women, women!
We arrived at Hepzibah around 10: 58AM. I found out that Hephzibah means my delight is in her, and really, our delight in the scenery was evident! We had been translated from the extremely urban and busy Accra to the serene, mountainous greenery that was Hepzibah Christian Centre. We checked into our rooms: Asare was roommates with Ibrahim, I was paired up with Grace, Anane rode solo and the Ameyaws shared a room. Shortly afterwards, we had our first prayer meeting in Anane’s room, led by Sarah and Ibrahim. We then got ready for our first talk with Prof. Esther Acolatse, an assistant Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and World Christianity at the Duke School of Divinity.
The talk started at approximately 12: 50pm. Prof Acolatse is extremely knowledgeable in theology and Christianity, and the beauty of it all was that her knowledge had not caused her to be puffed up, she still reflected the character of a person who bows her studies down everyday to the illumination of the Spirit ofclear-spoken words, her sense of humor, and her willingness to admit that she(and by extension christians) did not have all the answers was refreshing. She touched on the topic “Making the Gospel Relevant to Our Culture.” The points below are excerpts of what she talked about
- Our practice as apologists is to give an account of the Gospel in a way that people can understand. She undertook a little morphology with the word understand– stand+ under. Our defense of the gospel is to make men make meaning of out of it in order tostand under the umbrella of our faith.
- She emphasized the fact that in spite of the fact that our cultures question our faith and runs parallel to it at times, this only makes our faith stronger. A faith that has grown through doubt stands stronger than a faith that has not.
- People(non Christians) may not have a knowledge of our God or they may be outsiders to the knowledge of our God, but that does automatically not make them outsiders to the concept of God.
- Christianity has to transcend cultural barriers, our faith is not wedded to any culture. The Christianity that existed in Paul’s time is not expected to be the one that exists in our culture, but if Paul is to come back into our world , he should not have a cause to accuse us of practicing a different faith.
- Though Christianity is not wedded to a specific culture, culture is necessary for the transmission of our faith. It is an indispensable medium through which we reach the masses.
- All cultures are redeemable, and these redeemable points are the entry points for our Gospel.
- What name will we call Jesus that will ruffle feathers where we are? how do we talk of our faith in a manner that Ghanaians will make a meaning out of?
- The cultural lenses through which we read scripture and how it affects our understanding.
Do look out for the continuation of the rest of the retreat in tomorrow’s post. God bless you all.