To what degree are the things that we emphasize in our faith born out of our circumstances? For instance, I read tonight that St. Francis of Assisi emphasized poverty as a sacred vow because of the abuse of materialism in the culture of his day. (Sounds like today!) Would he have perhaps emphasized marriage or leadership or parenthood had he lived in a different time or place? Might he have found a better holy haircut had he lived in 20th century Milan? Perhaps he wouldn’t have become known as such a friend to animals if he had lived in the heart of the Amazon jungle with piranha and boa constrictors. How much did the emphases of his culture and time influence the development of his theology and spiritual formation?
In another completely different context, did men like Ted Haggard and Jimmy Swaggart preach so heavily against sexual sin because that was the major area of struggle in their life? For us today, where we sit reading this silly blog… How much does the condition of our circumstance influence the emphasis of our theology and spirituality? Does this limit us in our faith… or expand us?
I’m trying to determine if there is an overarching set of balanced spiritual principles that span throughout the centuries OR does God intend for us to place certain stress on particular principles/issues that are important to our own culture/experience/passions/????. Does my question even make sense… Any thoughts?