This post is a part of the series I’m doing on A Theology of Cultural Engagement. Today’s post will focus on the role of creation in cultural integration.
Christians have long been known to condemn culture when it does not reflect their beliefs and values system.
Jerry Falwell didn’t like Teletubbies, Terry Jones didn’t like the Quran, and Pat Robertson doesn’t like gay marriage. Sure these are extreme examples of Christian leaders who many Christians don’t appreciate, but these are the stories making national news.
There is a fundamental flaw to this approach of condemning the culture: nothing changes.
Most people refer to culture simply as the air we breathe. Culture is just the reality of the world around us.
As is most often the case, condemning a piece of culture only ends up bringing it more exposure and value, while making the condemner newsworthy enough to look foolish. Truly, “the only way to change culture is to create more of it” (Andy Crouch). Culture is not changed by reversing trends, it is changed by creating something new.
Don’t like what you see in the world today? Create something better.
I love the picture Gabe Lyons paints on the creation of culture: “The next Christians are fast at work creating good culture. In doing so, they aren’t just reconstructing what’s broken; they are adding on a new dimension in the places they’ve been called to—restoring the truth, goodness, and beauty that’s been lost.”
Creation of culture which reflects who God is shows itself by truth-telling, goodness, and beauty.
Michelangelo said that when it comes to culture we “critique by creating.”
It is next to impossible to know which creation will change the world as we know it. But ultimately God’s people have an opportunity to shape the culture in ways they rarely have before.
(Next post: Cross-bearing)