Culture Wars: A New Hope

Culture Wars: A New Hope

Aug 21

You're my only hope!

A short time ago, in a galaxy very, very close…

This is one of the topics that has been bouncing around my head – spurred by recent and upcoming events. Elections in general, homosexual marriage specifically. This post isn’t directly about those things, but it has prompted me to ask the question, “As a follower of Christ, what is my response to the culture supposed to look like?”.

From what I understand, it’s a bit different than what I’ve seen and how I’ve reacted.

 

IT’S A TRAP

Whether it’s the “War on Christmas” or “Fighting against the Liberal Agenda” there seems to be plenty for Christians in America to be upset about – and fight against.

(Are those the things that are supposed to upset us?)

Christianity is naturally counter-cultural – so why does it seem surprising when society doesn’t align with Christ’s commands?  The beautiful part about democracy is how well it reflects the people it represents!  So, what are we to do?

I believe Jesus clearly taught, demonstrated, and, ultimately, gifted us with the capacity to respond to a culture separated from God and to do it in a way that ultimately points back to, and glorifies Him.

 

USE THE FORCE (NOT, “USE FORCE”)

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most famous, powerful messages ever given. It was the inaugural teaching Jesus delivered at the start of His ministry (He knew how to hit the ground running!). When you get a chance, check it out in Matthew 5,6 & 7.

It perfectly captures who Jesus is (especially the beatitudes) and gives us a glimpse of what a Christian’s life begins to look like as it is transformed by the Spirit. Blessed are the humble, the merciful, the peacemakers. These provide hints at what our response is to look like.

Jesus continued (coining one of the many famous sayings taken from scripture) teaching about what happens when you try to offer something that is valuable to someone who doesn’t (and is spiritually incapable to) understand its value . “Pearls before swine, ” He teaches, “They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”

Does this mean we don’t speak up or speak truth? NO! It does clue us in that timing and audience should be a consideration and at least it prepares us for the reaction. (No, surprises!)

When Jesus sent out His disciples, the instructions given if the message wasn’t received well was simple. “Shake it off and keep moving” (Note: I believe I understand the symbolism of dust wiping – but still believe it’s best summed up that way.)

Peter captures the “Christ-like” response in 1 Peter 2:22-25. Jesus did not retaliate when He was insulted and He left His case in the hands of God.

 

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

For me, the answer to how to respond seems quite easy while being wildly difficult. My barometer for my response falls into two categories:
- Is this demonstrating the love that Jesus taught? The kind that shows the world I’m His disciple? (John 13:34-35)
- Does what I’m doing prompt everyone to praise my heavenly Father? (Matthew 5:16)

That’s it.

So what does this look like?

This is my view summed up “at 30,000 feet” (and under 555 words ;) ). I’m sure I’ll be diving into this subject again – it’s approaching faster, but we’re still a ways away from November. 

 

Photo Credit: Gilderm

2 comments

  1. Ambrosia

    I liked so much about this, but I think it’s summed up pretty concisely in your paragraph titles! It’s A Trap and Use The Force (Not, “Use Force”) say it all. Thank you Josh! Great questions as well… “Is this demonstrating the love that Jesus taught?” I recently read something Paul wrote in the MSG version: “If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.” (Rom.14:2-4) A good reminder with those questions. He’s got it all. (Very exciting!!!)

    • Josh

      Thanks, Ambrosia! I love that reference. He does have it all!

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