"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Changing the Culture

Do you agree?


We know it's important to change culture, but we're increasingly uncomfortable with politics as the means. You change culture, not by its laws exclusively, but by changing the hearts of the people in that culture.

We have to be close enough to people who are sinners in order to influence them. Yes, God wants us to be pure, but also to be emotionally and physically close to people who are broken. We can't withdraw from the world and also hope to influence it.


NonChristians interviewed had this kind of attitude towards most in churches: "'Most of the church experiences that I've had have led me to believe that Christians are unChristian and that they are no longer as Jesus intended.'"

The author believes "we all need less of the media in our world and more of the Bible" so that we can be changed on the inside. We need to realize how critical our relationships and conversations with others are. "While we can't change everybody's perceptions about us, [we should] be more careful representatives of Christ in our relationships."

Quotes and ideas from interview with In Touch Ministries with David Kinnaman, President of the Barna group and author of unChristian

6 comments:

Sanil Atarah Rivka said...

When the Bible was written, it was in the media of its time. I really think God works with our culture. The Bible is good, but maybe trying to force 1st century letters as the only or largest source of our faith is keeping Christianity itself in the 1st century and not letting it be something people in our world can relate to. I think rather than avoiding the media and culture of our time, we need to work in those things to reveal God as real and active today, not just 2 millenia ago.

SarahC said...

Here in the UK they are trying to change the drinking culture by changing the laws - cracking down on cheap drinks promotions, happy hours etc. I think that is important and necessary. But I agree that equally important is people changing their minds of their own accord. And yes, those of us who have a moral/religious perspective should share it and get people thinking about things from another angle. Difficult to do though!

Amber said...

Jesus went to the sinners, yes? So we can hardly continue His work if we refuse to associate with people who aren't 'perfect' like us. :)

The distinction, I think, is not made clearly enough in many churches as to the sin and the sinner. God hates sin, but loves the sinner. Too many times I see or hear a sermon with some guy screaming from the pulpit about how 'God hates the gays!' or the Muslims, Jews, black, whites, drinkers, liberals, yadda, yadda, insert your group of the moment here. And when you compare that to the Bible, and Jesus Himself... yeah. Christians are un-Christian.

And I agree with Sanil that if you want your message to impact people, you need to use the media. Ignoring it and rejecting it just makes you look like fundamentalist wackos...

(not *you*, you, Susanne, you know what I mean)

Carmen said...

"We have to be close enough to people who are sinners in order to influence them. Yes, God wants us to be pure, but also to be emotionally and physically close to people who are broken. We can't withdraw from the world and also hope to influence it."

YES! It comes back to our instruction to be IN this world and not OF it. We should have God's word in our hearts and know Him intimately so that when we are around the world, we don't conform to it and become unrecognizable as a follower of Christ.


"While we can't change everybody's perceptions about us, [we should] be more careful representatives of Christ in our relationships."

I think people's perceptions might not be so "off" IF we did a better job of being Christ-like. How many times was Jesus misunderstood by those outside of the church that got to spend time with Him? I'd say, probably not much. His heart was pure and so were His motives.

We're misunderstood because we fail to let love flow out of us.

Now, I don't believe it's always our fault, but that as a whole, "the church" has significantly failed in this area. Myself included.

Susanne said...

Sanil, good points. I think the author meant that we need to be spending more time letting God shape us rather than allowing our media to do so. (E.g. love your enemies vs. go to war against them or treat them like dirt.) I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear. Thank you for your great comment. Do you think we are doing a commendable job in using the media or allowing it to work for us? I wonder in what areas can we improve.


SarahC, thanks for your comment. Great example of how we try changing some things in the culture through laws. I enjoyed your perspective. And I think you DO share your moral/religious perspectives on your blog. :)


Amber, ha, ha! Ummm, thanks! ;) I appreciate your willingness to associate with us less-than-perfect people (those dreaded Baptists....hereafter known as "the B word".)

Great point about Jesus associating with sinners AND the sermon-of-the-day example was spot on! Jesus told us to love our enemies. He didn't preach sermons about hating a certain group!

Carmen, great stuff! I totally agree and I'm so glad you shared what you did. Thank you!

Sanil Atarah Rivka said...

Given the book, I think you're probably right. :) And I realized I bypassed the majority of your post and grabbed onto that one point. Sorry about that, that one point just stuck with me and was obscuring the rest of what you wrote.

I think it varies. Some have it right on, some compromise too much and are no longer a Christian influence but rather a Christian being influenced, and some alienate non-Christians. I think there's always something we can improve on and ways we can grow, so we should never assume we're doing it right. Even the people who I said are right on need to keep working and seeing what they're doing wrong or what they could do better, or they won't hold that state for long.