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Constants in Context

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Constants in Context

Darlington Mushambi comments on the edgy and ever-shifting university culture and the challenge to communicate the timeless Gospel in fresh ways. Find out how the Y staff are creative in pointing out that the Gospel redeems all life, including Hip Hop music and work of being a lawyer. Read more

20 years is a long time. In a university context, however, 20 years is a lifetime – the culture is edgy and constantly shifting as trends are created, proliferate throughout campus and fall out of fashion every week.

One of the biggest challenges is continuing to communicate the timeless Gospel in fresh ways so that the challenge of the Gospel is not lost on the culture. As the student body has grown in diversity that has also meant an explosion of subcultures and interest groups. As the UCT semesters have become shorter and required more intense concentration, time spent outside lectures is at a premium, and students are more reluctant to be drawn into events that aren’t connected to their passions or studies. Among all the other changes the years have brought, one thing this has meant for us is the need to streamline how one approaches these many, diverse groups one encounters on campus.

The last 20 years have seen the groundswell of urban youth culture informed by Hip Hop music from North America. Students, from whatever ethnicity or class, dress, walk, talk, listen to this music, and they are profoundly influenced by it. In God’s providence a parallel and infiltrating presence has also grown in these years – Hip Hop music done by Christians. A bridge has been created by those artists allowing Christians to highlight the God who is creative, and who seeks to redeem us and the culture we produce. We’ve started a ministry called Rhyme & Reason to reach out to the Hip Hop subculture on campus, to show them the hope of the Gospel, and we can do so through the genre of music they hold dear.

As a law student, I struggled with understanding how what I studied tied in with what God loved, and His intentions for the world. At present there are many resources – blogs, articles, books, debates – that are available and can be used to cultivate a biblical view of the work of a lawyer. I meet weekly with postgraduate law students to study the bible and pray, and they have felt very encouraged by the thoughtful reflection of other lawyers and philosophers that help them to bridge the gap in what has been called an oxymoron – the Christian lawyer.

The passage of time hasn’t meant the change of the Gospel – it does mean sometimes adapting methods to accommodate and be as helpful as possible in explaining the Gospel in an intelligible way to a culture that would otherwise say ‘meh’. We still do straight up preaching at events like our weekly HUB meeting and camps; we still meet with students to mentor them and teach them how to read the bible better; we still have a heart to reach the lost on our campus, whether it be the Linux enthusiast, Philosophy professor, or a colourful Genshiken Society member in full Cosplay (Japanese animation references). We’ve simply sharpened the old, and added new tools to help us as we make disciples of the whole Earth.  – Darlington Mushambi

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