I’ll be straight up and honest – I haven’t really planned out this post, and I don’t quite know where it’s going. But it’s 4:38am, and I need a distraction. A good distraction. One that hopefully stimulates thoughts that points to the Lord.
So this is a topic that there’s SO MANY ways to come at; culture. It’s something we’re all involved in, something we grow up into, something that can shape our views, and as Christians is something we at times try to utterly avoid at all costs – which I don’t think we should.
Now culture is a very complicated thing. Like I said, it’s something we try to avoid. We’re told in the Word to not be of the world (among other things about culture), which make no mistake – we shouldn’t be, but that doesn’t mean we shut ourselves in.That doesn’t mean we should run and hide, or tuck away into a christian bubble (which, are a lot like those ‘safe spaces’ people have a lot of beef with).
So where am I going with this? I think that culture is a very important thing, and something the Lord can use in unexpected ways. One of my favorite stories from my missionary friend involves Him going on a missions trip. He’s on a late night run, bumps into some locals who are singing – and on the spot they ask him to sing ‘one of the songs of his home land’ – and for some reason, the first song that immediately comes to his mind was Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ – and through that moment, he was able to further engage with them, and then had the opportunity to invite them to a worship session – which they showed up for. Somehow, someway, the Lord was able to use that song at that moment to create an opportunity. Heck, when I worked in a homeless youth shelter I was able to get to deeper discussions because of being familiar with (or at least somewhat knowledgeable) of secular music. With the youth at the youth centre, praise be to God, I was able to have discussions with kids (again, say with music) not just ‘you shouldn’t listen to this/watch this’, but here’s WHY this is can be an issue, here’s how it can be bad, and here’s potentially something else. I cannot tell you how much my familiarity with hip hop and has led to some great discussions, sharing of biblical artists, and eventual discipleship opportunities.
Now does that mean we should blare Tupac or AC/DC during a sunday morning service? Of course not. Does that mean I think we should seek out every worldy thing and try to use it? Of course not. But I firmly think we need to be familiar with the culture with which we are in, learn about it, and pray about how we can engage those involved in it – and ask and trust the Lord to find a way. I’m sure years ago (and unfortunately, a bunch of people now) would have sworn that hip hop and heavy metal could not be used to God’s glory – but look at the work the Lord has done through Lecrae, 116, or any number of Christian rappers (or P.O.D., or Demon Hunter, or the Devil Wears Prada, etc). I think we need to be willing to engage culture, pray for the others that do, and not judge others who go to areas that we wouldn’t (unless it’s sin, we need to call that out).
This reminds me a bit of two things from Mark Driscoll. One was his willingness to frankly talk about sexuality (using cultural, nonclinical terms) – which in my teen/young adult years (reaaallly struggling with porn and sexual sin), I really needed to see and hear. I needed an authoritative voice who wasn’t embarrassed or wouldn’t blush in talking about such things. The Lord used him and his willingness to speak to me. The second thing it reminds me of is this quote from the Elephant Room, which I think is great food for thought:
I hope and pray this post was encouraging, and in some way helpful. I pray that if nothing else it will lead you to come the Lord to discern your own thoughts about culture and how we can possibly engage it and share the Lord in the world with it. I also hope that things were clearly communicated, but it’s late and I’m getting mad tired.
On two side notes – check out this interesting article about culture from Christianity Today, which is well worth the wait. The second is to ask that you please be in prayer for some friends of mine who are away leading at a camp this week with youth and young adults. Please pray that the Lord will speak through them, that the Lord will speak to the hearts of the people there, that they will be saved, and that the Lord will be glorified. Thank you.
Hope you peeps have a great day. God bless.