A Theology of Cultural Engagement (Part One)

Christianity has a PR problem.

There is no disputing this fact.

Talk to most any person who would not call themselves Christian and they would say Christians are most known for being hypocritical, judgmental, overly political, and insensitive. In today’s world perception is reality, and whether those negative words reflect all churches or people we know, they do paint a picture of reality for how Christians are viewed today.

Christians have long struggled with ways to engage in their world without copying, critiquing, or avoiding culture. And judging by the common negative perceptions, we’ve clearly done a bad job.

This isn’t a call for Christianity to become more popular in culture, but it is an opportunity to open the door to spiritual transformation through Christ to a culture looking for hope and life.

Maybe all this time we’ve misunderstood our call to engage the cultures around us, after all many of us have to wonder whether our engagement with culture will ever amount to any good.

I want to focus on the ways I believe God is calling us to bind ourselves to the culture around us without losing our distinct mark as followers of Christ. Andy Crouch says, “Culture finds its true potential when God blesses it with his presence and offers it in transformed form as a gift back to humanity.”

We must see the great opportunity here, as God uses us to usher in his presence and his reign in our world. God calls the church (both local churches and individuals which make up the church universal) to engage with culture through working (vocation), restoring, creating, and cross-bearing.

Any feedback?

(I’ll focus on these areas of vocation, restoration, creation, and cross-bearing in the coming days.)

(Part Two)