Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Engaging the Culture

One of the magazines that someone in our church gave me a subscription to is called “REV!” In this latest issue (Nov/Dec 2006) I especially appreciated the article under the “culture” section by Tony Morgan called, “Yelling at the Television.” In the article he likens today’s Christian to someone who yells at the TV because they don’t like what they see, rather than actively engaging the culture and influencing it like we should. Morgan writes,

“We’re afraid to engage the culture. We prefer to yell at it. Ironically, the louder we yell, the less they listen.”

Isn’t it time we engaged our culture? After all, aren’t we the salt and light of the world? How much are you up on today’s culture? According to the same isse of Rev magazine one study found that:

77% of Americans can name two of the Seven Dwarfs but only 24% can name two of our Supreme Court Justices. How many Justices can you name?

60% of Americans identified Homer as the father of Bart Simpson but only 21% can name one of Homer’s epic Greek poems. Can you name one?

73% of Americans could name all three of the Stooges but only 42% can name all three branches of government. Can you name all three (branches, not Stooges)?

60% of Americans knew Krypton was Superman’s home planet but only 37% knew that Mercury was the closest planet to the sun.

57% of Americans knew Harry Potter was J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard but only 50% knew Tony Blair was England’s Prime Minister.

23% of Americans could name Taylor Hicks as the latest winner of American Idol but only 11% could name Samuel Alito as the latest Supreme Court Justice to be confirmed.

According to 1 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul engaged his culture. He became all things to all men so that by all means some could be saved. Now there are always some who will respond to this by saying, “So, does that mean it is OK to become a prostitute to reach prostitutes or to become a drug addict to reach drug addicts?” Come on…of course not! As my mentor, Steve Peters, would often say, "We are free to do anything but sin in order to reach people with the Gospel." Tony Morgan goes on and writes:

Paul engaged his culture to win people to Christ and we must do the same today. We must address their needs and their questions before we can impose our agenda. We need to stop yelling at the television and dare to actually get in the game. Then, and only then, will we have the opportunity to make the kingdom of God real for the world around us.”

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