The Only Way BAM Makes Sense: The Primacy of the Core Narrative for BAM, culture-thinking . . . and everything else

BAM and my emphasis in this blog on “culture training” is worthless apart from a reliable core narrative: The Good News of the appearing, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In case you think I am selling you a well-starched theological shirt, please press on.

pensive in doorwayWe always (me, BAM businessperson, student, all followers of Jesus) return again and again to the primary core narrative, even as we focus on the messenger’s (BAMer’s) ongoing story/Home-culture and the recipients’ ongoing story/Other culture—and business in those contexts, ours and theirs.

This core narrative has primacy. It is what Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:9,10– that God has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The primacy of the core narrative bears repeating because we messengers have fleshly propensities:

  • to forget
  • to de-center the narrative so that it focuses on us or our culture or Other cultures
  • to be driven by tasks at hand
  • to casually allow something else to “spin” the primary narrative out of the center.

Of course I am NOT arguing that we should NOT be aware of ourselves, or of Others, or of work and its profits. But primary (the core) is that God comes toward us and is with us in Jesus. We must know THAT narrative in every sense of the word know. Knowing ourselves as messengers, knowing Other Cultures, knowing business with skill and integrity, and knowing cognitively/academically a right message is NOT the present power of the gospel. We must be skilled in every way we can be (I hope you are doing that.) while we hold fast to Jesus who lives today. The disciples know their master.

This is a daily issue for the gospel messengers we seek to be and train, whether in business or not. Our reliance is on “his purpose and grace,” a purpose and grace that itself rests on Jesus’ earthly appearing, His earthly death and His ongoing physical resurrection life.

I am writing this because of my own daily experiences of minimizing Christ and because I know that when He is understood by me as the glory of God revealed, all sorts of repentance, zeal, humility, and brotherly love follow. Purpose and mission follow. So if I offer the critique that much of what inspires many of the efforts of my Christian brethren is a mere truncated gospel, a narrative that is dusty, a narrative that is shelved, I speak from personal self-knowledge. I must study the gospel daily and meditate on all that God is and is presently giving me in the post-executed, presently-seated Jesus . . . in every situation, today.

I am also writing this as a note that whatever I argue here about culture and business– about “business as mission cross-cultural”– makes no sense (nonsense) if those arguments are devoid of a connection to this “living” core.

In my/our BAM efforts, in paying attention to my emphasis on commonsense in the Other-culture, we do well to examine ourselves. If indeed Christ lives in us and is the core subject of our business and our culture studies, we will pass the tests. The power of the gospel will infuse our efforts in business and we will be boasting in Jesus, who we are following, not in ourselves, mere business success, nor cultural agility.

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About rbuddglobal

Developing BAM Cross-Cultural so that Business As Mission is skilled culturally. Alongside insightful West African leaders who train workers to be carefully cross-cultural as they go making disciples. Engaging work and research inside cultures, American education systems, mission agencies. Towards learning, teaching, communicating, being anthropological and being with others to make disciples for Jesus who lives. Via UPenn, UMd, West LondonUK, AccraGhana, PortlandOR, TrentonNJ, PhilaPA,TowsonMD.
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