I just love Jailbreaker's thoughts on culture and Christians--particularly western Christians--and I have learned so much from his perspective over the years.
When I think about culture and Christianity in the context of our discussion, I guess what is at stake is the fact that our model of "church" doesn't (and really can't) connect with another culture. Really, what we are dealing with is how we organize Christians in fellowship with one another. How did we start the journey? When did we begin to change our focus?
Somewhat oversimplified, our Christian culture in the United States began as a community, planted in a New World (new to Europeans, at least) to create a pure church. Their vision of a church was a body of believers in covenant with Christ and with one another, accountable to each other, possessing a high view of Scripture and a mistrust of their own motives. Gradually, through our own history we traded community for individuality as we settled the frontiers.
American Christians tend to think as individuals and our churches reflect our fragmentation. Consider how we divide our church worship services into contemporary or traditional and have small groups for every age group or interest. It is the penetration of the church by the market. In a broad sense, we "do church" as individuals without building community in the church. Americans select churches, not because they see people loving each other in a variety of situations, but because they "meet my needs," a phrase I interpret as "this church is entertaining or the pastor preaches interesting sermons, there are lots of activities for us and our kids, and the music is great."
Contrast our contemporary church experience with the church as portrayed in the first few chapters of Acts. The first century church is an anomaly--people willing to lay down their lives and possessions for others, confront sin lovingly, and preach the truth. And lest someone say that I long for a Golden Age or some form of primitivism, we must recall that even the early church was full of imperfect people. So were the churches of 17th century Puritans. Right or wrong, this is the way it has been and it is hard to for the leopard to trade in his spots for a new coat, particularly as post-modernist attitudes continue to make inroads into the church.
Not only wouldn't we want to impose our forms on other cultures, we really can't. No cultural form, be it social, political, economic, or religious can be "cut and pasted" onto another culture. Period. Certainly, there are absolutes which can and should be (justice, freedom, human dignity to name a few) but even these can and will be interpreted in ways that are culturally accepted while still biblically sound.
Still, in some ways I think we are asking the wrong questions. Perhaps it is best to ask, not "how do I adapt to this culture?" but "how do I bring these people I love face to face with Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the word of God?" Then, we need to ask "how can I get these lovers of Jesus Christ to love one another?" Josh McDowell has said that adults in our own country need to recognize that we have two cultures (I would add "at least two") in our churches today - that of the adults and that of our youth. As I walk into the classroom every day in a Christian school and face this youth culture head on, it is not as crucial for me to speak their language or to know their songs as it is to answer the cry of their heart, spoken or unspoken: "We want to see Jesus." And once they see Jesus, how do I then teach them to love one another instead of tearing each other apart as teens do. Unless we all see church culture in these terms, we do not see the church (or Christ) rightly.