A Table Conversation: Gospel and Culture

You may already be aware of this but for clarity sake, let me state the challenge North American Christianity faces.  We Christians are called to be disciples of Jesus, disciples who are witnesses for the mission God is fulfilling in Jesus Christ.  As such witnessing disciples, we share in God’s grace as we are led by the Holy Spirit and transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.  It’s a life that’s lived by faith as we love God and others with the same love that God has expressed to us in Christ.  This seems to be what living as a Christian is about.

In a culture that was more or less Christianized (what we sometime hear called christendom), being a Christian seemed to be somewhat of a more simple endeavor…perhaps to simple.  Regardless, were not living in that Christianized culture anymore.  The culture around us is a post-Christian or post-christendom culture where the prevailing worldview that people live by is neither biblical nor influenced by gospel of Jesus Christ.  Along with this new post-Christian culture comes a wide range of  questions people are asking.  While the questions are not necessarily new, the process by which the questions are raised, explored, and answered are new.  Things which people previously took for granted in regards to questions about life, morality, meaning, and so on, these are not taken for granted any more.  As people explore these questions, they are listening to a diversity of voices.

I like to describe this exploration as a big conversation taking place around a big table.  The conversation is, in general, about life.  In the previous culture, the voices in the conversation were likely to only be Christian.  The voices were simply different denominations and church tribes debating with each other about who’s right…sometimes over issues that really did not matter as much as some believed.  Today is different.  The voices joining the conversation at the table today are not just a bunch of Christians.  Besides Christianity, seated at the table today are also the voices Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, New-Age religions, atheism, and on and on.  As I said, it’s a large table with lots of diverse beliefs and world views.

So the conversation we are engaging in as witnessing disciples of Jesus Christ is a conversation we are having with a multiplicity of voices.  But here is the caveat…on some occasions, some of those other voices no longer want us Christians at the table.  There are reasons for that which I believe is some of our own doing but that is for another conversation  For now, we must just recognize the challenge: How do we live as witnessing disciples of Jesus in a culture where we are not the only voice but also where we may not always be welcomed into that conversation taking place around the table?

It’s time for a change in our table manners!

4 responses to “A Table Conversation: Gospel and Culture

  1. Have you ever thought about writing a book? You should.

  2. I agree with Jen, you should write a book Rex. Love this blog. Love that you ask questions that are relevant and cause us to pause and think about just what are we doing.

    How to change our table manners? How do we gather at a table that is now diverse of beliefs and have conversation with those who regard Christianity as one more religious belief in a sea of many options? Very good question that doesn’t have one answer. But one that might demand some change in our approach of testifying to the work of our Lord and Savior. I do believe the gospel speaks for itself, the message contained within the scriptures has all the power it needs. We simply become the vessel that shares that message. But being the vessel means we are His representatives. Perhaps our approach should be with the same characteristics as the one we represent. One who is compassionate, slow to anger, approachable. How can we ever expect to reach anyone with the message the gospel tells if we haven’t been changed by it ourselves? Just one thought in a very complex question.

    Please, keep asking the questions!

  3. Jen & Amy,

    I have s-l-o-w-l-y been working on a book but it is about suffering and hope. I would like to write on the broad topic of gospel and culture more but it will need to wait. Any ways, thanks for the vote of confidence in book writing.

    —-

    Amy,

    I think you understand well what sort of new table manners we Christians are in need of to be cordial yet faithful participants in the table conversation. May your tribe increase!

  4. Pingback: The Cost of Winning the Culture War (Part 1) | Kingdom Seeking

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