Why MACCS?

17Nov06

Recently I got to thinking about how odd it may appear that an IT guy is pursuing a seminary degree. What does a Master of Arts degree in Cross-cultural Studies, concentrating on contemporary culture/postmodernity, have to do with being an IT Specialist and Teacher at a private, Christian, K-12 school? Great question, glad you asked. I find a wonderful synergy (resonance, if you will) between a cross-cultural degree and information technology and teaching.

Here’s how Fuller describes the degree; “The Master of Arts in Cross-cultural Studies (M.A. CCS) program is designed to prepare students with less than three years of cross-cultural ministry experience for service in multicultural situations. Combining the resources of the School of Intercultural Studies (formerly World Mission) and the School of Theology, this degree program provides special preparation for future cross-cultural workers and other professionals who hope to share their faith and lives in a multicultural world.”

I chose this degree because I am convinced that as followers of Jesus in a postmodern world we live cross-culturally. As a technologist and teacher I work at the intersection of dramatic cultural change initiated by electronic media. We live in the tension between these seismic shifts and at the self-same time firmly rest in the presence of Christ. There is an increasing need in our contemporary cultural milieu for cultural interpretation, evaluation, and instigation. As a Christian and, even more as a Christian teacher, I find I have a great responsibility for stewarding and mentoring emerging generations. Our students – this emerging generation – must learn how to interpret and evaluate the electronic media (TV, internet, email, networking technologies, and more) that saturate their lives in our pluralistic world. With the advent of internet technology the “multicultural situations” are but a mouse click or a channel-surf away. I believe that while technical proficiency is a must for my job (which I am actively seeking), I am also compelled to operate as a missionary living in a new world with cultural challenges at every turn. I believe our students need this cross-cultural perspective or they will be hopeless lost in a world of too many choices and too many idols vying for their allegiance.

Even more, I believe we have a call as Christians in a post-literate age to instigate. We instigate the Kingdom of God. Obviously not in full, that is yet to come. But as followers of a Galilean carpenter who proclaimed the Kingdom of God was at hand, we do the same. The Kingdom of God is at hand when we make discerning decisions about our use of technology – when we, for example, use email and the internet to connect people in ministries who need support and resources or when we fast from TV so as to center on Christ more.

So, in sum, I find my pursuit of a MACCS to be marvelously complimentary to technical computer prowess and life-giving, Christ-honoring teaching.

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