Culture, counter culture, changing culture and church culture all interest me and have for years. I still remember the first book I read that dealt with changing culture, The Popcorn Report by Faith Popcorn. (While The Popcorn Report, published in 1991, was a look to the future and the changes that culture would make.) I still follow Faith Popcorn’s work and find her group’s cultural predictions interesting.
I have discovered new voices on culture, from a Christian viewpoint. Voices like the Denison Forum, which provide a thoughtful perspective on current cultural events. I have read Radical by David Platt and look forward to getting a copy of his new book Counter Culture. And I have a friend who writes for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC.
As I sift through all of the books, blogs, post and tweets about culture, I have a few general perceptions that I would like to share.
First, it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel the need to protect oneself by withdrawing into a cocoon. I have to remind myself that God is never overwhelmed, caught napping or off guard. I am reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (esv)
A good methodology for dealing with culture change, clash, etc. is found in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (niv)
Second, I like the question from 1 Peter 3:13, “And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good?” (hcsb) You only have to read 1 Peter 3:14-17 to pick up on a methodology for living in the face of changing culture. Phrases like “do not fear what they fear” and “honor the Messiah as Lord” jump out at me. Ready to give a defense of hope that lives in me.
Finally, in the face of cultural change, I have the opportunity to be salt and light. I (the church) have a role to play in culture. We play the role of salt and light. There is a great little study on Matthew 5:13-16 from gotquestions.org. I think I will start small with my neighbors and co-workers. Maybe then I will expand to my HOA. What about my local school….. You get the picture - Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of culture that I touch.
Yup, salt and light, this is what I have been called to be as I develop a deepening relationship with Christ each day. As I spend time with the Word of God (Bible) discovering and learning truth. I (and collectively the followers of Christ) should bring a savory flavor to the world around us. Providing illumination so that others can discover why we have discovered in Christ. The freedom to live life, not as one condemned to death row. Rather as one to live as one whose name is on the A list for the greatest event of eternity.