REPLY to EACH Discussion Board Statement · Directly address threads · Each reply must be a unique contribution that reflects thoughtful analysis of the topic and thread. · A minimum word count of 200 words EACH is met or exceeded for each. DB #2 RESPONSE #1 S Clayton Race has been known to be a touchy subject for many. Discussing race seems to be synonymous with speaking while treading lightly. Pondering on my understanding of different races led me to think, first, about what I believe race to be. Race, to me, refers to the physical features of a person. The first human feature that comes to mind when reflecting on race is skin color. Other physical features are included, however, such as hair, and the shape of a person’s nose, lips, and face. Ultimately, race considers color, and facial features. Because of this, race can be thought of as part of one’s DNA. Differences in the way people look can be attributed to their genetic makeup and so, race is a part of this makeup. In my personal understanding of different races, identifying where a person is from can be easy because of the way they look. After conducting research on this topic, I realized I was only partially correct in my thinking. A person’s physical attributes is a result of their genetic code, but not in the way that I thought. A Stanford study was conducted in 2002 , in which human diversity was examined. The focus of this study was 4,000 and how they were distributed across the globe, breaking the world into seven geographical regions. It was found that over 92% of alleles were found in two or more regions and almost half of the alleles studied were present in all seven major geographical regions . In my previous idea of race, I identified the physical features with DNA and assumed they were one in the same. This is not the case as alleles vary greatly from genetic code. Alleles differ from genes in that, all humans have the same genes that code for hair, but the different alleles are why hair comes in all types of colors and textures.  Elmer (2002) discusses the importance of understanding culture and strays from using the term, ‘race’. God created differences  and seems to prefer it. There are several cases in the Bible where the one that is chosen by God to fulfill a mission is the one person that is different. The book of Matthew speaks of a woman that used expensive perfume on the head of Jesus.  This action was characteristically different from what was expected. The Bible discusses race in terms of lineages from Jacob or other patriarchs. In First Peter, we see that people from various nations are called by God and in this, we find another example of the inherent differences we see in the world. The book of Ester, also, has very specific examples of race and how it can affect people’s behavior towards one another. God’s word seems to side more with the scientific explanation of races, rather than my understanding of it. While Deuteronomy 32:8 explains the separation of people by God, verses in Psalms, Romans, Colossians, among other books, express the fact that race is simply a way for humans to categorize themselves needlessly because God sees us as a human race where if we call on him, we will be blessed.  Stanford study  Chou, Vivian. Hoe Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century, Harvard University, http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/science-genetics-reshaping-race-debate-21st-century/, 2017  Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002.  Unless otherwise noted, all scripture retrieved from Christian Standard Bible DB #2 RESPONSE #2 E Beth Position of Race-DB 2 I am persuaded that there is only genetically one race; the human race However, the human construct of differences in race is born out of a need that humans have to classify in order to understand ourselves and the world and people around us. Hiebert states that "Social categories are built by establishing oppositions—by showing the differences between us and others. Each society and each age re-creates its Others in order to define itself.1 Over hundreds of years of recorded history I can see that different societies made some kind of distinction between self and others on the basis of religion, nation of origin, physical characteristics or a combination of all three things. The idea of race based on physical characteristics was first described by anthropologists in the 1800s. 2 In our present age, race is largely defined a combination of skin color, distinguishing physical characteristics, and national origin. However, in the case of my friend Elizabeth, identifying her broadly as Asian wouldn’t provide anyone with much insight into who she is or how to relate to her culturally. She was born in Brazil in the 1970s to refugees from Taiwan and mainland China. She grew up in a Christian home where her parents spoke a mixture of Portuguese, Mandarin, and Cantonese. After arriving in the United States as an adult, she obtained citizenship and married an American from Wyoming and now lives in Arizona. If someone tried to understand her as someone who grew up in China or Taiwan by considering the customs and traditions of those countries, her attitudes and behavior might be confusing. Although many tribes, people groups, and nations are mentioned all throughout the bible, I can find no mention of race. Instead, I see exhortations to see all humankind as equal in terms of need for redemption and salvation. In the creation account, we read that “ So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”4 In Acts, Paul is speaking to a group about the identity of the unknown God when he says, “…and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…for we are indeed his offspring.”3 In Romans the point is driven home that all are equal before God, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greeks; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.”5 How this relates to the mission of the church is twofold. In one respect, God has created us in his image but yet we are also distinctive. At the end of the age people from all tribes and nations will be present to worship the Lord. In light of this diversity, we must seek to understand the unique cultural context of each person we desire to reach. However, we must also remember that all people are in need of redemption and salvation. All people having been created in God’s image have intrinsic value an immeasurable worth to God and thus to us. To reject this truth is to reject God's view of people and his plan of redemption for humankind.  Paul G Hiebert The Gospel in Human Contexts: Anthropological Explorations for Contemporary Missions. Baker Academic, 2009.  Howell, Brian M., and Jenell W. Paris. Introducing Cultural Anthropology: A Christian Perspective. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011.  Acts 17:26, 28b (ESV)  Genesis 1:27 (ESV) DB #3 RESPONSE #1 J Davidson Right, Wrong, & Different Right, Wrong, & Different In Chapter Three of Elmer’s book Cross-Cultural Connections, he explains that growing up every child has two categories: right and wrong. These categories define how we perceive things and what is acceptable “in our mind” and what is not. Elmer says, “We all believe that our way is the right way, our beliefs are the correct and our culture is superior.” He expresses these categories through the concept of a line. Elmer compares it to the generational beliefs of what is right or wrong, and how as each generation comes the right and wrong categories get smaller, whereas the differences that lie between are getting larger. A “grey area” I currently see in our world and culture today is dating versus courting. “Courtship is a relationship between a man and a woman in which they seek to determine if it is God’s will for them to marry each other.” We see the unity of man and women in Genesis when God could not find a suitable helper for Adam, so He created one. Courtship has become a thing of the past and dating now fills it is a lot. However, generations ago courting was the right way and only way to begin a relationship with someone where now everyone is dating and sometimes dating more than one person at a time. Courting and date are altogether different. Courting happens only when both parties are prepared to commit to marriage. Dating often consists of a man and woman who may or may not want to commit to marrying the other person. God created the unity of marriage to be purposeful and pleasureful. However, Satan tries to tear marriages apart every day, and he even works to mess up God’s plan for marriage before it ever happens. Pre-marital sex is at an all-time high. 1 Corinthians 7 teaches on marriage and Paul states in verses one that “ …each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.” Dating tends to open the door to many temptations, where courting does open the door to some temptations in courting both parties place their accountability to God-given authorities. Jesus gave this instruction with a promise: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) When a person puts the focus on courtship versus dating it creates an atmosphere that God is at the center and in control of the relationship. With that being said, when was the last time you heard of someone “courting”? I know I did not court my husband. I can see the differences here and where courting verses dating falls in the differences category, but I might say we need to bring courting back into the right category. ________________________________________  Duane H. Elmer, Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 22.  Ibid., 25.  “How Is Courtship Different Than Dating?,” Institute in Basic Life Principles, 2014, https://iblp.org/questions/how-courtship-different-dating.  Ibid.  Ibid. DB #3 RESPONSE #2 R Amos Right, Wrong, and Different DB3 As I reflect on Elmer’s text, “right, wrong and different”, I could easily identify with this chapter. For instance, I went through most young adult life, as Elmer’s wrote, putting things“in the category of “right” were the things that were like me and the things I pegged as “wrong” were the things and people that were unlike me.” This text shows how to relate culture and scripture, “if we treat everything as right and wrong, we do a great disservice to the human diversity God has placed in His creation. If we treat everything as a cultural difference, we do a great disservice to the God who authored an uncompromising word of truth. I attempt to respect both God’s world and the Scripture.” Elmer’s text gives guidance in respecting differences,“if we come together and learn from each other, I think we can get closer to the mind of God in how we ought to order our lives.” This is the ultimate view that we are all striving to achieve, as Paul writes to the Philippians church, “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. He shares that “over time I have come to realize that many of my convictions about what was right, wrong and different were culturally based.” He summarizes how to change our cultural preconceptions, “if we label most of our encounters with the new culture as differences, it liberates us in a variety of ways” this will bring glory to God. He tells us, “maturity is knowing more and more what is worth fighting for and what is not worth fighting for.” He shares different “grey” areas about right, wrong, and different. The one I chose is “drinking affects me when drinking produces an irrational, irresponsible behavior such as by driving a vehicle or fighting others. Drinking affects the local church when a nonbeliever who has been watching a believer sees that person drinking and directs it as a “church” issue instead of a personal choice. It also affects the witness of the believer based on others wrong view of drinking. Drinking affects the kingdom of satan when drinking excessively abuses another person. He never repents, ask for forgiveness and eventually dies in his sin. It has no lasting affect “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” ________________________________________ Duane Elmer (2017). Cultural-Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com Duane Elmer (2017). Cultural-Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com Duane Elmer (2017). Cultural-Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Duane Elmer (2017). Cultural-Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com Duane Elmer (2017). Cultural-Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. DB #4 RESPONSE #1 R Amos Missional Theology's Role in Anthropology Amo “A way of thinking biblically about God’s universal mission in the context of the world here and now, with all its particularities, paradoxes, and confusions is refer to as missional theology. The task of the mission theologian is to translate and communicate the gospel in the language and culture of real people in the particularities of their lives so that it may transform them, their societies, and their cultures into what God intends for them to be. It is important for that missional theology draws on systematic, theology and biblical to understand the gospel as well as it need to understand humans as much as we understand the gospel. This is where anthropology studies help to build bridges of understanding and evaluation between social and cultural systems. Human studies can also help missional theologians understand divine revelation, which was given in particular historical and sociocultural contexts. One strength of missional theology is its focus on the mission. The mission was given to us by Jesus, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teachingthem to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”It is through“the Holy Spiritthat we are Hiswitnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Therefore, it is“importantfor missional, systematic and biblical theologians to study one another’s craft as well as trained in humanities and human science so that they can understand the people they serve and the way they themselves are shaped by their own historical and sociocultural contexts. We need systematic, biblical, and missional theologies. To leave one of these out if to omit an essential dimension of the gospel.” This is an understanding that would have been quite valuable before my missionary journeys to Zambia, Mexico and Saipan as well as living abroad in Germany, Turkey, Kuwait, China and now South Korea. Even though, I have made countless cultural errors over the years, I am learning how to value and embrace cultural differences for the effectiveness of the gospel. As Dr. Smith’s presentations resonates with me, “God places people on our doorsteps for seed planting as they build the church/home of their liking; virtual teaching has taken it even further, from the doorsteps to inside the homes.” ________________________________________ Paul G Hiebert (2019). (p. 36). The Gospel in Human Contexts: Anthropological Explorations for Contemporary Missions. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com] Matthew 28:18-20 English Standard Version Acts 1:8 English Standard Version Paul G Hiebert (2019). (p. 36). The Gospel in Human Contexts: Anthropological Explorations for Contemporary Missions. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com] Dr. Smith, “On Our Doorsteps” and “Matchmaker” presentations DB #4 RESPONSE #2 E Murphy Missional theology focuses on how the Bible is to be presented to different cultures and people groups. It views God as missional, so His church should be His missionaries. This view should shape almost every aspect of the church and how it reaches others. If God is a missional God, then we must use His Word in the appropriate context to reach others for His kingdom for as long as we are able. Simply reaching people and leading them to salvation is not the end of our job, though. We must also communicate the gospel in a way that is relatable to their culture so that their culture can be transformed and reshaped in order to be rid of any aspects that might be sinful. However, deciding whether certain facets of a culture are morally right or wrong is not always a simple task. Missional methodology uses three steps to understanding how to address specific cases – phenomenology, ontology, and missiology. Phenomenology evaluates the people, contexts, and history. It is important to first create one’s own understanding of the situation and then move on to understanding how the people understand and view the situation. This can require a great deal of research on cultural traditions, rituals, and beliefs. Next, ontology evaluates the situation using reality checks and Scripture. It can be helpful to see how other Christians have previously addressed comparable situations. Finally, missiology involves deciding on how to handle the situation. Carrying out the decided upon plan should bring about change in the specific situation, but it should also bring about long-term change. These three steps are not only used to determine the morality of a situation; they are also used to determine how to make parts of the gospel, such as parables, relevant to the people. The text provides the example of the women hearing the parable of the sower. Through evaluating the people and contexts and using Scriptural evidence, one can decide on a plan of action for addressing the women in a culturally sensitive way that allows them to understand the true meaning of the parable. Since the goal of missional theology is, of course, missions, it is a very personal way of looking at the gospel. It is interesting to see how it can be adapted to each culture without changing the overarching message of salvation. Before this course, if someone had said that the gospel needs to be altered to reach others effectively, I probably would have thought that was unnecessary. I have grown up hearing the gospel presented in the same way in numerous churches. Some of these churches were even very culturally diverse, yet the message was always the same. I never witnessed any effort to adapt and make the message relatable. Perhaps missional theology is a concept that is not taught thoroughly enough to missionaries and pastors. It is unfortunate since it is such a vital concept to understand when interacting with other cultures. ________________________________________  Darrell L. Guder, Called to Witness: Doing Missional Theology (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing, 2015).  Paul G. Hiebert, The Gospel in Human Contexts: Anthropological Explorations for Contemporary Missions (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2009).