Last week, we looked at spirituality in Quebec. The Québécois rival their BC counterparts in their disaffection with organized religion. Many believe that religion and religious practice is largely negative for the overall good of society. You can read that post HERE.
The challenge, which we will look at in this post, is how to bridge that gap; how to present the gospel to the Québécois without unnecessary religious trappings that can hide the beauty and the winsomeness of the love of God revealed in Christ.
Pride & Creativity
A couple of years ago, the book, “Cracking the Quebec Code” was all the rage in Quebec. The authors (with an unabashed “commercial” purpose) drew some striking conclusions about the differences between Quebec and the Rest of Canada (ROC).
A few of their conclusions are very pertinent for us as Christian who seed to build bridges and share the gospel with our neighbours and coworkers.
Two of the positive characteristics of the Québécois francophone (French speaking) are their sense of pride and their creativity (two words for pride exist in French, one positive – fierté, and one negative – orgeuil; this reference to pride is “fierté”).
Who has not heard of the “Cirque du Soleil”?
It’s hard to ignore, as well, the deep sense of identify and pride that inspires the Québécois when they speak of their language and unique cultural institutions (that have survived and flourished for over 400 years, a French island in a vast English sea).
This should lead us as evangelicals to revisit just how much this culture and language of Quebec shapes and inspires how we express and live out our faith.
My take on Quebec evangelicalism is that it is largely an Americanized institution that happens to be “painted” French. We have not been very creative in the ways we have translated the gospel message, and the practice of our faith, into the “idiom” and lifestyle of the broader culture.
Most worship songs, for example, are translated songs from Hillsong or Bethel. Our “mega” churches (only a handful in Quebec) resemble their American counterparts almost to a tee. The respective “theologies” of our denominations are predictable, with little unique theological reflection rising from or for this milieu.
Evangelism and outreach also must reflect to a greater extent the vibrant culture and rich creativity of this people!
The Québécois, as well as being proud (fier!) is also highly sensitive to the “medium” and the character of the one speaking. The Evangelism methods of the 70s and the linear three-step versions of popular tracts will gain little hearing.
Impersonal and mass marketing methods are of little value.
But there are some new voices that are gaining a hearing.
One young, dynamic believer prepares high quality 5 minutes video presentations steeped in the Québec context and overflowing with the Quebec idiom and even idiosyncrasies! Doors are opening for him as thousands are tuning in.
Check them out here: Sam’parle
Je Suis Deuxième
Another great site with 10 minute testimonial videos is Je Suis Deuxième. These videos of life transformation in Christ have had millions of views. The gospel is being shared in powerful, winsome ways.
The Gospel & Quebec
Jesus made his mark not only with his healing and miracles, but with his teaching.
People “hung on his words”, both because of the authority (integrity and conviction) with which he spoke, but also because of his winsome cultural, social, and “colloquial” references.
He was a consummate storyteller.
And his message found its mark.
So can ours, in Quebec, as we allow this rich culture, this dynamic people, and this beautiful language to inspire all we do and say.
Barry Whatley provides leadership and resources for French speaking Canadians and Africans in the areas of church health and revitilization, church planting and leadership development. Barry lives with his wife Laurie, in Hudson, Quebec.