Should Christians run and hide from the culture? Should they embrace it? Should we try to change it? These are all good questions and I’m pretty sure the answer can vary depending on the circumstances. But they are questions I enjoy thinking about and reading about. And I’m always on the lookout for those who are engaging those questions as well.
The following is almost all of Skye Jethani’s daily devotional from yesterday. I’ve been a subscriber to “With God Daily” for a while now and have found it to be thought-provoking and very scripturally based. Plus, as I think about missional engagement with the world and the community, I often find that his devotional and what I have going on in my mind intersect. Yesterday was one of those occasions as he contemplated engagement with culture. Note, that the basis for his discussion is scriptural engagement, first.
In the Old Testament, both exodus and exile were difficult circumstances that God’s people found themselves in against their will. First, they were slaves in Egypt when the Lord called them to separate themselves from that pagan culture. Later, they were carried away as exiles to Babylon where they had to survive in a pagan land.
What made Jesus’ incarnation different, and the reason it is a better model for our own vision of cultural engagement, was that unlike exodus or exile Jesus’ incarnation was a choice. Scripture says he chose to empty himself, take on the form of a servant, and dwell among us. He willingly came to our world to be near those who would reject and kill him. As his people, we are not called to be mere exiles that endure our time on earth. Like Jesus, we are called to embrace this world, this generation, and this culture as the object of God’s grace.
… We can merely endure it as exiles, or we can embrace it like Christ as our place to manifest God’s love.
That last line is a good one.