In Malaysia, we spoke a great deal about contextualization... and it's many levels and applications and so on.
What do I mean with contextualization? It is a way of (to use NT Wright's language) appropriating the Gospel into different contexts. Not being so concerned with specific words, but more with concepts. Learning from and listening to a culture to see where God is already at work and then showing how Jesus, this Jewish prophet and Universal savior, fulfills their tradition... and confronts it... setting things in their proper place.
Let me give an example for some context about contextualization. In the old world, missionaries would come in to foreign lands and convert the natives and give them Western religion. They would make them leave all their heritage and culture to embrace Western culture along with Christianity (and diseases and economic practices and all the other stuff that often came with Christianity and colonialism).
This is not contextualization. This is a complete lack of it.
Contextualization might look more like the book Peace Child, where missionaries go into a culture to listen to their stories, learn their language, begin to understand the fabric that is their culture, look for metaphors, then appropriate the story of God to them in their own language... and by language, I don't just mean spoken/written language, I mean in their own cultural language.
So, for a Muslim to follow Issa al-Mesih (Jesus), it might look a lot like worshipping God in their mosque, continuing to pray to God 5 times a day... and perhaps rediscovering God and allowing God to redeem the redeemable of their culture.
We have talked a great deal this past weekend about contextualization. It is a big deal in a non-Western country with several folk tribes still in tact. What is the story of God in an Eastern context?
More on this later...