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New Beginnings and Painful Endings

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The Christian Church is always embedded in the ambient culture, and it cannot be understood or even appreciated without taking into account this hybrid existence. There is no ontological operation
that might separate absolutely ‘Church’ from ‘culture’ or, indeed, in our European context, culture from Church. For better or for worse they are together entwined. It must, of course, equally be
acknowledged that they cannot be identified with one another as if forming together a seamless totality. The complex relationship between culture and Church – as neither distinct nor unified – should not, however, be interpreted as a problem to be definitively resolved (an impossibility), but rather as a richness that permits dynamic exchange and effective growth on both sides of a complex equation. In this short paper, I’d like to explore a number of aspects of this entwinement that has an immediate impact on ministry and on forming community in our contemporary context.