Christians and Culture

I often think Christianity Today misses the important realities of what God does in the world, so when they hit one out of the park I’m not only surprised, I want to share it. In the March 2006 issue of Christianity Today, they printed an article on the influence of believers on culture entitled, Loving the Storm-Drenched by Frederica Mathews-Green. It is the most incredible article I’ve ever read on the subject and I wanted to shout AMEN virtually with every paragraph. I’ll quote some excerpts here, but I’d really encourage you to follow the link above and read the entire article.

What’s more, (the culture) is already changing – constantly, ceaselessly, seamlessly – changing whether we want it to or not, in ways we can’t predict, much less control. If you take the cultural temperature at any given moment, you will find that some of the bad things are starting to fad, and improvement is beginning to appear; simultaneously, some good things are starting to fall out of place, and a new bad thing is emerging.

Not only can we not control this process, we can’t even perceive it until changes are so far developed as to be entrenched. Chasing the cultures is a way to guarantee that you will always be a step behind the times.

God has not called us to change the weather. Our primary task as believers, and our best hope for lasting success, is to care for individuals caught up in the pounding storm. They re trying to make sense of their lives with inadequate resources, confused and misled by the Evil One and unable to tell their left hand from their right.

This focus on an external, public sign is contrary to the mission of the church. Christ planned to attract people to himself through the transformed lives of his people.

But if someone should actually see our billboard, and be intrigued, and walk in the door of a church, he would find that he had joined a community that was just creating another billboard.

Culture is not a monolithic power we must defeat. It is the battering weather conditions that people, harassed and helpless, endure. We are sent out into the storm like a St. Bernard with a keg around our neck, to comfort, reach, and rescue those who are thirsting, most of all, for Jesus Christ.

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14 Comments
  1. Kevin April 16, 2006 at 7:15 am

    Thanks. Great article, indeed. I like the last paragraph regarding the St. Bernard.

    I’m reading a book, Kingdom People, that has this picture on the cover…

    http://www.gardencone.com/pictures/mm-collie-th.jpg

    The spiritual metaphor is great. The author asks, are we the sheep or the collie? His answer is that, as believers, we are now the collie. We are out in the world, being led by Jesus looking for the lost lamb. Our job is not to save the helpless lamb, but when we come across it to stay with it and call for the master!

    Notice the vultures in the background and the terrible weather. The collie isn’t doing a thing about that. Nor is the collie preaching to the lamb, telling it to get up and move to a safer place. It’s just sitting there howling for the master to come to rescue the lamb.

    When is the lamb finally safe? It is safe when the master shows up.

    Likewise, our saftey is found not in the absence of the storm, but in the presence of the master!

    Happy Festival of First Fruits Day to all!

    – Kevin

  2. Tyler Dawn April 16, 2006 at 8:32 am

    Wow, this was great, a true clarion call to the masses of us who are more concerned with the culture accepting nativity displays in the marketplace than they are with engaging in the lives of everyday ordinary people. Jesus didn’t die so we could erect holiday monuments, He died so that we could be freed of sin in order that we would then be free to lavish His love on a dying world. Too often we desire to combat a culture that has no desire to even acknowledge our existance — well, let the culture ignore us! When we stop shaking angry fists at the winds of change, then perhaps God can use us to do the true work of the Kingdom.

  3. Kevin April 16, 2006 at 10:15 am

    Thanks. Great article, indeed. I like the last paragraph regarding the St. Bernard.

    I’m reading a book, Kingdom People, that has this picture on the cover…

    http://www.gardencone.com/pictures/mm-collie-th.jpg

    The spiritual metaphor is great. The author asks, are we the sheep or the collie? His answer is that, as believers, we are now the collie. We are out in the world, being led by Jesus looking for the lost lamb. Our job is not to save the helpless lamb, but when we come across it to stay with it and call for the master!

    Notice the vultures in the background and the terrible weather. The collie isn’t doing a thing about that. Nor is the collie preaching to the lamb, telling it to get up and move to a safer place. It’s just sitting there howling for the master to come to rescue the lamb.

    When is the lamb finally safe? It is safe when the master shows up.

    Likewise, our saftey is found not in the absence of the storm, but in the presence of the master!

    Happy Festival of First Fruits Day to all!

    – Kevin

  4. Tyler Dawn April 16, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Wow, this was great, a true clarion call to the masses of us who are more concerned with the culture accepting nativity displays in the marketplace than they are with engaging in the lives of everyday ordinary people. Jesus didn’t die so we could erect holiday monuments, He died so that we could be freed of sin in order that we would then be free to lavish His love on a dying world. Too often we desire to combat a culture that has no desire to even acknowledge our existance — well, let the culture ignore us! When we stop shaking angry fists at the winds of change, then perhaps God can use us to do the true work of the Kingdom.

  5. Theresa Lode April 16, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    Yes and amen. I was nodding my head while reading this piece. What a refreshing article for CT. I will encourage others to read this.

  6. Theresa Lode April 16, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    Yes and amen. I was nodding my head while reading this piece. What a refreshing article for CT. I will encourage others to read this.

  7. Steve April 19, 2006 at 10:02 am

    Great article Wayne. Thanks for the link.

  8. Steve April 19, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    Great article Wayne. Thanks for the link.

  9. Pat April 21, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    Absolutely worth reading!

    Thank you.

  10. Pat April 22, 2006 at 1:28 am

    Absolutely worth reading!

    Thank you.

  11. Robert Gillard May 30, 2006 at 3:38 am

    Hey Kevin,

    Love your last sentence….

    Remember the disciples? Out in a boat, howling tempest and Jesus fast asleep.

    Disciples, fearful, woke Jesus and His response…. “Wot, no faith”

    The storm is no problem when we are in the presence of the Master (again)

    so, I say to you all, ” peace…. be still.”

    blessings, Robert

  12. Robert Gillard May 30, 2006 at 6:38 am

    Hey Kevin,

    Love your last sentence….

    Remember the disciples? Out in a boat, howling tempest and Jesus fast asleep.

    Disciples, fearful, woke Jesus and His response…. “Wot, no faith”

    The storm is no problem when we are in the presence of the Master (again)

    so, I say to you all, ” peace…. be still.”

    blessings, Robert

  13. Brenda Brandon January 22, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Hello, While searching on the internet I came across this painting The lost sheep. I am very intrested
    in findind out who the artist is and, the story behind the painting. My mother has given this painting to me, I believe she has had it for over 30 years. I appreciate it.
    Thank you.

  14. Brenda Brandon January 22, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Hello, While searching on the internet I came across this painting The lost sheep. I am very intrested
    in findind out who the artist is and, the story behind the painting. My mother has given this painting to me, I believe she has had it for over 30 years. I appreciate it.
    Thank you.

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