Friday, February 24, 2006

The True or False Game.

True or False?

The Christian who does not adapt Jesus and the gospel message to culture is hypocritical and has anti-Christian motivation.



If you read this, response is required.

109 comments:

Dan Richardson said...

False. I'm not sure you can adapt Jesus and the gospel message to the culture. However, the method of communicating Jesus and the gospel message HAS to be adapted to culture as it changed. The truth never changes...ie, sex before marriage is always wrong.s

Carson said...

False, Jesus is timeless and if anything we as Christians need to keep Him as real and as untamed and raw as he was.
Through adapting Jesus to our culture we place Him in a box (a very small box) and take away all of the mystery, fire and unpredictability that he brought to the world and to the church at that time.
In essence, through adaptataion, we take the very Jesus out of Jesus, and make Him no better than any of the other religious figures in the world today.

randomandrew said...

false

we can see in the sermon on the mount that jesus spoke to an audience that is extra-cultural, or that extends beyond culture. the laws which he upholds and expands apply regardless of any reader's culture. jesus and his teachings and his story in general transcends culture.

i also disagree with dano. unfortunaly, jesus and his gospel is a counter-cultural message, simply because what he says contradicts much of what we (n.american culture) understand to be normal and socially acceptable. when we rely on God and quit candy-coating jesus and his love story, then we see results.

i'm curious to know if you heard this in a sermon...

Dan Richardson said...

Jesus pissed people off in his day. He came in and destroyed their little empire they had set up and dethroned them from the position of gatekeeper. What I see happening right now in a lot of emerging church discussion is the fear of offending people so that we can lead them to Jesus. I'm not sure I'm saying we should be rude and obnoxious...maybe I am. Personally I'm not a fan of the boistrous approach with megaphones and billboards. I am a fan of loud living though. Don't read that as "religious" living. I think that Jesus offends people and if we are preaching Jesus and not just our personal convictions about our opinion of Jesus, then people will be confronted with truth that forces a decision.

Dan Richardson said...

randomandrew...are you disagreeing with the fact that I said the method that Jesus is communicated needs to change? If so...why? What is your interpretation of the word "method"?

Ric said...

man Jesus was anything but "culturally" acceptable in his time.He rocked everyone in those times, and the true gospel still has the same effect! I want to know how we would adapt Jesus, and the gospel? God, Christ, the Spirit, they do not change, what would put us in a position to change the message of Christ.
Living a life that glorifies Christ is going to "piss" people off, not just the unchurched, but some of the churched people as well.

Dan Richardson said...

I think living a life that glorifies Christ is gonna piss Churched people off more. I still think the method that Jesus and the gospel is communicated needs to change as time goes on. For instance, in china you aren't going to communicate the gospel the same way that you would hear. The method needs to change. The message stays the same.

Ric said...

i have to agree with carson.

Dan Richardson said...

How would you use the same method in communicating Jesus to Chinese people without getting shot? I agree with Carson too. So who's disagreeing?

Ric said...

i read a lot from the "persecuted church" and see how they reach out and what they risk.....and a lot do go to prison or vanish. and i agree that you agree with carson, and since i agree with him -we all agree....
do we need to change how we deliver the gospel here in North America or do we need to be the church in all we do

Ric said...

can someone give me their def. of "emerging church". one prof at my school defined it as "emerging church crap"........i do not think that is acurate however

Dan Richardson said...

I think we need to be the church in all we do...but again...it's our on going conversation...is there one way for the church to be? Or can there be different ways as long as the message is untainted. The emerging church is too big of a discussion for me to get into right now. It's got a lot of good things...and then there are some bad things as well.

randomandrew said...

dano, allow me to clarify:

i say that all too often, the message of jesus is misinturpreted by an unchurched population so that they see "religion", "rules", "gushy love story", "gory hate story". this is due to the fact that as contemporary christians, in a particulalry "relativist" canadian culture, the message of jesus is far too offensive, so we attempt to communicate it in different ways.

the result is confusion and distate.

why are we so concerned with what it is that we can do, and forget that with prayer and relationship, God will communicate the gospel sufficiently?

Anonymous said...

RandomAndrew

You believe it is God's job to communicate the gospel sufficently? Does that contradict "the great commission"?

Ric said...

Randomandrew,
hey what is offensive, or what do you see as offensive about the gospel message according to our "culture"?
second i agree 100% with the comment regarding prayer and relationship, i think that is bang on!
before every incredible growth in the church, since the day of pentecost, there was fasting and prayer!

Mark said...

Randonandrew said 'jesus and his gospel is a counter-cultural message, simply because what he says contradicts much of what we (n.american culture) understand to be normal and socially acceptable' [A snipit that defines the jist of the last 15 posts] Interesting terminology... I absolutely agree with the statement that began thie great discussion but I do not disagree with the direction it has gone down. How can we possibly say that 'counter culture' is even biblical... I think we use that term to cover as a lame excuse for inneffectiveness, laziness and mediaocrity. In the long haul when we claim our 'counter culture theology' we only create sub cultures that no longer effect the mainstream culture [enter the Christian Music scene]. Our counter culture approach has cause such a rift in Society that we can no longer speak to real issues because we have been so finatical about so many things we have lost our 'saltiness.' TRUE TRUE and couldn't be more true a statement Postal!!! The purpose of Christ was to transform culture .. the only culture that he was countering was the 'religious' hypocrites that had anti-Xian motivation. Think about it.

randomandrew said...

this is gonna be long...

i love the great commission. "go out and make disciples"

anonymous asks, "You believe it is God's job to communicate the gospel sufficently? Does that contradict 'the great commission'?"

i answer: "no". in fact it is our job as one who takes on the identity of christ (by calling ourselves christians) to go out and in every aspect of our lives proclaim His glory. in my entire life i have never converted a soul. this is entirely due to the fact that I do not win souls, God does. it is by His efforts and not my own that someone is saved.

ric asks: "what is offensive, or what do you see as offensive about the gospel message according to our 'culture'?"

first, examine our culture. "we" (i use this term lightly) like sex anywhere, with anyone (boy or girl), at anytime (before marriage, outside of marriage), "we" like violent movies, "we" like to insult and violate the rights of others to satisfy our own "rights", "we" like to sue those who wrong us, "we" believe that the universe was created by an explosion, life by amino acids

when you, a christian, embodies a "love" that says all of that is wrong, to a culture that says everything is right, as long as it's right to someone, you are attacking their beliefs, not even passively opposing, but attacking. this is the offence.

*whipes brow* phew!

Mark said...

Accurate examination of culture???... maybe ...maybe not. Recent studies state that only 3 of 10 of youth are sexually active with one or more partners [sexual active is defined as french kissing to 'all the way.'] If our examination of culture is from an 'ivory tower' then maybe we can say such things as stated in the above post... but maybe we need to revisit the world we live in... if we create our 'counter culture' then how can we accurately examine culture ...we can only make hypothesis. [I know for a fact that none of my friends believe or adhere to said statements in the above post(even my homosexual friends)]

Ric said...

original post asks a simple question- and I believe that the simple answer is false. we are not to change the gospel message, it (the message) needs to remain intact. how we deliver the message to someone may need to change, but the message remains intact.

Anonymous said...

According to the CDC,
• In 1999, the percentage of teens having sex increased by grade 65% of seniors had had sex, whereas 39% of freshman had had sex.
"Adolescents are more educated about sex than ever before and that makes them feel more at ease as well as more conscious of how to diversify their sexual expression," said Lepage.

However it is perceived, sex amongst teens does not come off as a social matter but more or less as a social evolution.

those are the current stats, plus because of the rise in std's charles lepage at Uof Montreal says teens are discovering new ways to express their sexuality.
mark, it is on a steady incline every where but your friends i guess

Jeremy Postal said...

To stir the pot a little more...

I wonder if Jesus himself might have adapted if he came a century earlier, a century later, or now? Would it have been the same Jesus?

Anonymous said...

Has to be the same Jesus, God is the same, never changed, so why would the Son change?

Ric said...

A question.
As I read the Bible, both the NT and the OT it seems apparent that the struggles man kind/woman kind has had since , well since Adam and Eve, have been pretty much consistent. The desire to please our own flesh more than serve Jesus Christ/God. To express our "ahem" free will.
So my question- If our struggles are the same, the desires of the flesh are the same, the answer must be the same is it not? I mean in our N.A. culture we may have TV, internet, etc to deal with, but the desires are the same, sex, drinking, multiple partners, obssesion with objects (for us TV's computers, IPODS blah blah - material garbage)- so with all this being the same, I mean really there are no new sins, why would Jesus change?

Mark said...

anonymous... I think you are misreading the statistics my friend... there is a mass difference between having sex [once] and being sexually active[sex often]. In any case that is not my point... my point - I do not think Xians can make a judgement on our culture - when they are not a part of it and make rash genralizations such as 'everyone is doing it' or everyone likes violence or the like... these statements can point to the fact that xians are very uninformed about the world we live in.

Mark said...

Anonymous.... to be noted... [1999?] Your states are 7 years old... With youth culture shifting every 6-8 months I think you are a bit off the mark [no pun intended].

Steve said...

In my opinion,
Jesus is in us. So, the whole hypothetical "would Jesus adapt" COULD very well be a waste of time (I'm not saying it is).
If Jesus is in us, then he is in this culture. If we understand the culture and we are meeting the peoples needs, we are then culturally relevent.

I think if we water down the truth, we are causing problems because like stated earlier, it causes distrust, distaste, and confusion. But, if we throw it at peoples face with a megaphone, we basically allow for them to think we condemn them, they become repulsed, and never want to talk to Christians again.

If we live a life of love, if we live a life of grace, if we live a life that Jesus LIVED/LIVES/WILL LIVE then we won't have to worry about the gospel message because it is being presented in how we are living. We have to tell people if we disaprove, but we can't say, "You can't do that!" Mainly because God didn't, or atleast in one way. He didn't really force anything upon anyone. The ten COMMANDments still stand yes, but it's peoples choices whether to obey them or not. So, we'll present the Gospel Message we have in the way we live.

The fact that Christians don't understand, or are uninformed aobut the world we live in is a pathetic excuse. Grow up in the church or not, you are still subjected to the same kinds of things (with few exceptions.. maybe). I don't think God supported ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Youth At Risk - AIDS/HIV Statistics

* 50% of new infections in the U.S. are among people under the age of 25.
* Each year, over 20,000 people under 25 become HIV+ in the U.S.
* At least one American under the age of 20 becomes infected with HIV every hour of every day.
* 58% of all adolescent AIDS cases in the U.S. are young women.
* 70% of new U.S. adolescent AIDS cases are African-American, and 24% Latino; yet, these groups are only 13% and 15% respectively of U.S. adolescents.
* A recent study reported that as many as one third of young gay black men are HIV+.
* Almost half of young gay men admit to having had unprotected sex in the previous six months.

Mark said...

Postal
You asked the question 'Would it have been the same Jesus?' Good question but you need to go a little deeper... what do you mean? Clearly, there are some elements where He would not have been the same... but what exactly are you thinking? I assume you are getting to his cultural predispositions his physical attributes and not his person [essence/diety]?

Carson said...

Thanks for the question and for the great discussion, but I have to say that I think that no matter when Jesus lived the message would be the same. As for the packaging of that message what needs to be changed. Jesus said and did everything in an attitude of love. Why does us loving people depite their life style or religious beliefs need to change? Love people like Jesus did. Love people, hate their sin, but remember that you and I are no better then they are. That is what Jesus lived everyday. But know this, that living a life of love and loving the "unlovely" is going to piss people off in the church. And I have to say that is a good thing. Jesus love for the people royal pissed off the religious people of the time to that point that they killed him.

So again I ask what needs to change about loving people?

Anonymous said...

Do you have canadian stat, US stats are very different than canadian stats.

Carson said...

You can read more of my thoughts about this topic on my blog http://www.wittenbergs.com/Wittenbergs/Carson/4FCFF4F3-F0ED-439B-A505-56D44C6D46BE.html

Dan Richardson said...

Jer Said...

"To stir the pot a little more...

I wonder if Jesus himself might have adapted if he came a century earlier, a century later, or now? Would it have been the same Jesus?"

I am totally tracking with you. His message would be the same. I bet he'd use different language though. If he just happened to drop in on Abbotsford I'm not sure he'd be wearing his Rabbi clothes...I'm not sure he'd preach from boats...I'm not sure he'd use all the farming language. Maybe he'd be a computer geek with a blog like us. Maybe he'd shred the gnar with Jer. He'd probably hang out with the homosexual community rather than the tax collectors and lepers. He'd still love people like he did...he'd just adapt to the culture he was in. His message wouldn't change...the way he communicated that message would...IMO. Someone slap me if I'm way off here.

Dan Richardson said...

I guess I could add that we do need to be communicating the gospel message in a way that people understand...possibly using more modern day parables like Jesus used. Is that considered adapting?

Ric said...

why would Jesus change who he hung out with? When he went and hung out with Levi's friends they were other tax collectors, criminals, prostitutes, and other various low lifes for lack of a better term. he hung out amongst everyone. Why wouldn't Christ use farming language in Abbotsford, it is kinda a big farming community, is it not? Maybe the boat thing, cuz Mill Lake is not exactly the sea, but who knows. Carson stated an important fact, Christ did everything , reached those undesireables, in total love! Jesus is Jesus, unchangeable, he came into this world with a purpose, that purpose would still be the same. Yes, maybe the parable would be about the young drug lord who left all, squandered away all his money, and then came home, but man, the message is the same.

Ric said...

Would Jesus live and teach the same things today that He did then? Yes he would. For although time and culture have changed some of the cultural gift wrappings, the goal toward which Jesus marched was not embedded in culture - he marched toward the Father’s will irrespective of the cultural opinion. As the writer of Hebrews puts it, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

I am at this place where knowing Jesus is Jesus, same today as he was 2000 yrs ago, makes it a lot easier to be what Christ wants us to be.

Dan Richardson said...

I'm not sure we are able to have this discussion in a blog. Because almost everything here I agree with...I've said in almost every post that the message is the same...I've never said that message should change. Yet my words are taken to mean something completely different than what I've said. Sure Jesus would hang out with everyone. My point with the homosexual statement was that in Jesus day the tax collectors were the outcasts. they aren't today. I'm not sure tax collectors would be mentioned as much as a homosexual would be. I'd probably say that if Jesus was to be born today, at least one of his disciples would be a recovering homosexual. Once again...I do not believe that his message would change! I do believe that he would use different tools to his advantage to communicate that message. Do I think he would use the media to get his message across? You bet. But he wouldn't let it water down his message.

Let me ask a question here...what is the meaning of word adapt? It seems like we all have different interpretations.

randomandrew said...

i hate to do this but... about culture and the social sexual revoultion...

do you know what jesus considers to be sexually active? matt 6:28.

stats can be deceiving. they can be old. but mark, you are missing the boat. what dano, carson, ric and myself are all getting at (which, though may read differently is still all the same) is that the kingdom of God knows no boundaries: not political, not physical, not cultural. what we as christians have failed to do, which has brought canadian culture to where it is, is to show the love of christ. we have instead shown the iron fist of God and people have turned away from it.

anti-christian is so integrated into our culture; christian is morally wrong. we can't adapt the message to a culture who opposes the message.

walk upright in the eyes of the Lord, share His love with others, and let Him worry about the details.

on another not... we probably wouldn't recognize jesus if he incarnated today. we would probably reject him, as the pharisees did.

Anonymous said...

dan- good question. i will try my best to post my idea asap.

ric

Anonymous said...

dictionary defines adapt to :make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose;
so on that basis, back to square one, if we adapt, are we changing the message?

Mark said...

Forgive me if I provoke a little ... or maybe not. Is Culture opposed to Christ's message? ... Or just Xians who misrepresent and interpret it through thier own misguided and hypocritical point of view.? ... I am not going to sit and debate on sexual statistics... my point was be careful before you make large blanket generalizations... which I think where Xians stray/ go wrong on the most part. Precise Statements based on precise information/thoughts are what will keep us seeking the truth and not running of on tangents of who's right or wrong... Frankly to be honest I really don't care if I am right about my stats [although they are accurate based on information as late as Feb 2006 and CAD too by the way]. What I care about is that we make appropriate assessments of the people who are in our world around us seeking the truth [yes the truth! for all you anti-relativists]... I really have not met anybody in N.A who is anti-Christ... but certainly anti-christain.. and mostly because there is a certain vocal group of Xians who are very arrogant and think they are all that... say they care about reaching people but all they want to do is make those people into clones of themselves.
I agree with you ... Xians have not adapted the message to the culture... Which makes a whole lot of Xians hypocrites and anti-christian. Hmmm So who are the anti-Xian advocates then? ... not culture but Xians themselves who have failed to engage the world around them...
Something to think about.
BTW.. MAtt 6:28 - Give me a break... Nice... flannel graph sunday school answer.

Ric said...

I have to wonder why you are so angry Mark. I do not quite understand what you are saying, except you feel that we are making blanket statements with no real knowledge of what we are talking about. I think it is intriguing you tell us not to make blanket statements, yet that is what you are doing!
"my point was be careful before you make large blanket generalizations... which I think where Xians stray/ go wrong on the most part."-mark said.....
i have not read any where amongst these posts about anyone here trying to make "clones" of themselves, unless by that you mean- that we ,by showing the love of Christ, hope that those we do this to, grasp this love, discover the truth, the way, the love of Christ, and pass that love on, them if that is what you mean, i am guilty.
yes, there are people who are strictly "anti-christian" but are they not anti christian because we are embracing God and turning our back on the world. Not turning our back on the people, but on the things of this world. James nails this in his letter:
James 4:4,5You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
Just my thoughts.

Mark said...

Anger no but provoking conversation yes... so then tell me what is the 'world' that James talks about... The infamous 'world' that we hear to avoid but never really know what that is...
BTW.. I substantiated that there were certain 'vocal groups' of Xians [and not all Xians]... therefore its a little strecth to accuse me of generalizing that to mean all Xians.

Ric said...

Mark, You did not make that clear in your post, but that is cool. We all need to be careful on "blanket statements". I addressed a couple of your points that you brushed over, if you want to address them that would be great.
The "infamous world" as you refer to it seems to be the world. When we flirt with this world and then at the end of the day crawl back into bed with our spouse. Anyhow, regardless of the situation, I think I am going way over to left field instead of staying where I am supposed to be (maybe short stop) i think what james is talking about is pretty clear, but i might be wrong. james uses the term adultry for a reason. he is trying to impress upon us that friendship with the world and with God is like a relationship between husband and wife, that adultry will destroy a relationship between spouses.so, in other words, a dual desire for good and evil, friendship with the world and with God will ultimatley make one "an enemy of God".
I think I need to get back to the topic, and that is we are not here to change the message, but live the message.

Dan Richardson said...

I can see where mark is coming from. I guess I'm right down the middle on this one...just like I'm both Calvinist and Arminianist. I think we have to be in the culture loving people. We have to not give in to the worlds systems but love people. And not just love them so that we are right. Really love them...and I'm not sure a lot of us know how to do this without getting our pride in the way. It seems to always come back to an agenda...with me it does anyways. Part of the way I know my pride is getting in the way is when someone doesn't wanna believe what I believe and i keep pushing the issue. That's when I know I'm just trying to prove that I'm right. I agree with Mark that we have been super arrogant (not in these posts...but Christians in general) We have no clue how to listen to others...especially people from other faiths...we are so adamant that we are right. Possibly if we were to listen to them...build a relationship with them...wait for the right opportunity and show the love of Christ in action...maybe we'd see some fruit. We can walk down south fraser way in a Jesus March with Carmen cranked all we want (Thanks to Chad for that story) trying to tell people that we are right (masked with a sign that says Jesus saves) and get nowhere. For myself, I've had to come to the place where I have had to admit that I don't really know how to love people or God and start from square one. I'm no better than anyone that doesn't know Jesus. If I'm honest I just as screwed up. The only difference is that I've chosen to give all that crap to Jesus.

And I agree...what the heck does Matt.6:28 have anything to do with sexuality? I hope you were kidding. Ever heard of proof texting?

Mark said...

Well put Dano... thats the real stuff that opens the door to impact culture and speak into peoples lives... Xian or not we are seeking truth and need to come together in our journeys. Ric... I can be guilty of looking beyond the question asked and look for the thiking patterns that generate the questions ... so if I seem to be out there forgive me... Please state what I brushed over and I would be glad to clarify, if you want to go down that road.

Ric said...

hehe, carmen- dan you always bring enough relief to a topic to keep us all in check, thanks for that.
Plus thanks on the Matt 6:28 comment, cuz I thought I was so missing something, and have been reading that text and going, man am i having a blonde moment or what? I almost sent away for my "super apostle" glasses so I could unpack that text.........
For me it is not pride if someone does not get it, i sit back and look at my life and wonder if i am not living to my full potential in Christ. At that point it is not them, it is me. As far as what you said regarding just love people, not give into the wants or whatever of the world, that is exactly what James was talking about. I do not get what you mean by bieng in the culture though, and we can beat that horse on tuesday.
anyhow, thanks for the chuckle, or chad or whoever, cuz carmen in itself made me laff.............

Dan Richardson said...

Being in the culture is simply being among the people...living with them...talking with them...getting to know them...being friendly doesn't cut it...we have to intentially live our lives so that we can gain the trust of people to see that we are actually legit. I really like listening to Mark Dricoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I don't like some of his theology and he can have an attitude sometimes...but I love how blunt he is. Anyways, he was talking one time and saying to not be surprised if people look at you and think you are to lunch. Paul says that the gospel is craziness to those who don't believe in Jesus and that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict. We need to be telling people about Jesus but leaving the convicting up to the Holy Spirit. I find that I really like to convict people...I like the one to "convince" them that Jesus is the way. Here's a question that just came into my mind. What good does telling someone that Jesus loves them do (outside of having some kind of relstionship with them?) Do people really care?

By the way...Jer...still alive? Your blog seems to be pretty popular as of late...got any thoughts even though we've taken this thing in a different direction?

Mark said...

My last longer statement to ric was ... 'Xians have not adapted the message to the culture... Which makes a whole lot of Xians hypocrites and anti-christian. Hmmm So who are the anti-Xian advocates then? ... not culture but Xians themselves who have failed to engage the world around them...
Something to think about.'
This was an attempt to get back on the original thought process. I don't think we have stayed too far from the intent... just have a lot of other things that need to be discussed to clarify the orginal statement.

Ric said...

so, how do we embrace both culture and God? Is it possible? I still get what you are trying to say-yet it seems to me, and again, please correct me if I am wrong-that i am missing a huge part of who I am to be in Christ because I refuse to be part of this culture. I may have a different look on this whole culture thing because where I was, who I was, and what I have seen, but man, the culture I see, I want no part of it, reaching the peopel by living a different life that shows Christ, that I want........help me get this straight!

Mark said...

Culture = ??? Maybe start there. I would almost say how can we not be true to God if we do not embrace culture... That is what He does... is it not?

R said...

God embraces us, not our culture. That I am sure of. No matter what people God was doing His thing on, from the Israelites, to the Ninevites God was concerned about the people, not the culture. Or am I wrong?

Ric said...

"When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions" (Matthew 5:1-2).
See I get us going out to the world and sharing/preaching/teaching/evangelizing- yet even Jesus took 5 and went with "the commited" and got away from all of that. The crowds, the "culture"
I look at this and think that the culture Christ embraced was not of this world at all!

Mark said...

Here is a thought... Culture is the influencing mechanism of the values and norms that we live our lives by. Distinct cultures exist, each with their own internal logic and values; but for this blogs brevity lets look at only a single standard of refinement [North Amercian Worldview]. Thoughts?

Mark said...

ric.... I think you need to dig deeper in your processes rather than using a narrative scripture to try to make a point... There are some valuable lessons to learn form that scripture but I do not think this is one we can use to create a grid for our discussion.

Ric said...

Single standard of refinement- Mark please share what your views are on this. Like I said, mine are tainted because of the "world" I have come out of. For clarity sake though, it is a culture based on success, greed, personel profit, and material gains. It is a culture that is fully self, with no room for anyone else..............wait isn't that our culture?

Mark said...

I Woudl say that is not our culture... That is human... That is not the influencing mechanism that is basic human nature that you will find in any culture...

Let me clarify... What do you think are the values of everyday people? What do they Dream, Desire to see happen work to accomplish with their lives? And what are the things that influence those values?

Ric said...

Mark,
Why not embrace what Christ did, it is how he ministered. Maybe I am way to set in my ways to see beyond Gods word for my instruction, I do not know for sure. I look at who Christ was/is and I do not see a guy who embraced a worldly culture, I see a guy that did what he needed to to survive, became a talented carpenter, took care of earthly matters, but was def not part of the world he was in. Does that make sense at all? See Mark, I get that we need to reach those who are out there, lost sheep to use a pastoral phrase, I get that each of us is called to do that, to share what we have in our lives, to live as Christ like as we can. Does it mean going into some dark places, yes I think it does, does it mean we need to make sure we are strong enough in Him, in our walk as to not stumble, yes man, 100%. I get someone telling me they need to go and sit with buddy at Lou's cuz it is where they are comfortable, and they can share with them, or just be a friend. yet, that same guy has to make sure when "Sally Server" comes by with the low cut top, cleavage showing, all dolled up, that he focus's on Christ, not that thought of man-yum yum............yea know? See that might be someone's ministry, but def not mine, not because I am gonna fall or stumble, but because that world is where I come from. Put me in a gym, yup I thrive, put me at work, I share, I will go to coffee with whoever, but I am not going to put myself in a place that temptation is sitting there waiting.
Deeper into my process's huh. Well Mark, I would love to sit and share with you my process's, the things I have done, and seen, and where I am now in my life. Blanket statement coming up- this world, our culture is the exact opposite of what God is about.

Dan Richardson said...

Ric...how do you expect to love anyone in the culture if you want nothing to do with it? I understand that people are messed up. To be in the culture means to be around the people that shape that culture. By being in it you don't have to conform to it's values, you just have to love the people and accept the fact that they are messed up. Another question we have to ask is "What do we consider loving people and can we do that without getting intimately involved in their lives?"

Ric said...

dano.thats not what I am saying though. I can go and reach out without being part of it. Do I need to be homeless to reach out to the homeless? No I do not. I need to love them, do I need to be a drunk to understand the pain a drunk is in, no I do not, it is not that I want nothing to do with culture dan, it is more what am I/we doing to reach those that have fallen and have no way to get back on track until they see a differance in our lives. that we are not just like everyone else. and i know it is not church that sets us apart, it is why we go to church.

Dan Richardson said...

Okay...just looking for clarification. Haha...you know what...I bet this conversation would have died within five minutes if it was in real life cause there would be no misunderstandings and if there were...we could get them ironed out right away.

Mark said...

LOL... Thats good ric. So let me rephrase then what you stated ... For You the culture that you came out of is anti-God - oppsite of God. But not necessarily for everyone? So there fore we must be careful not to construct a dogmatic theology that eliminates some from their calling to effect and impact those 'areas.' Again I think look at it from a bigger, broader, beyond you and your experiences [although valid] scale. To say Jesus was just a guy that survived and took care of his earthly matters is well... a mixed message... there no question Jesus shook up the culture he was in and engaged with those outside in the 'world.' Some would say he was a revolutionary... hmmm..not sure but soem thought coudl go into that. There are those who believe in a monastic approach ...and isolate themselves from the 'world' thats cool... but there are also those that belive they are called to engange in the cultural mechanisms of the 'world' they are just as important. Neeldess to say I am not a homosexual but I am involved ' in a non sexual' way with several in relationship. I am not a ... [insert whatever vice you want] but you can guarentee I will be in earshot of those types of people influencing their lives. There are several major cultural mechanisms N.A. Culture that we shoudl be involved in ... anybody knwo what these are?

Ric said...

i do not think it would have.....there is way to much meat on these bones for it to be over in 5 minutes. This is what we must figure out for us to go forward, it is what must happen for us to grow as a denomination, as well as a body of Christ. I figure that we need to be "tent makers", but we need to be as much like Christ as we can, and if we figure that bar is to high, lets start with Paul. Anyhow, enjoy your group tonite, I hope it goes well
in Him\
Ric

Ric said...

Mark,
I know several "gay" people, I am not seeking out homo-sexuals to be friends with so I can say-look at me I am witnessing to gay people! I can sit with people involved in the movie industry, pick up the phone and call some guys involved in the under ground fight culture, go hang with some politicians or wanna be politicians, and I can see at lot of very lonely people in those worlds. They have things, but still are trying to fill this huge gap in their lives.
see-you have a focus on who or what we (Xians) need to be involved in to reach this NA culture. I sit back and say, hmmmm, who did Christ reach, yes everyone, but who did he tell us to look after, to reach out to. Who specifically are we to make sure are taken care of...... the widows, poor, aliens, orphans.
I can think of a lot more "glamourous" ministries, pastor to the snow boarders, pastor to the rock stars, pastor to the up and coming businessman, all needed, all required, yet for me, I need to start where the need is the greatest, where Christ pointed me to......so as far as major cultural mechanisms, i figure once the church is doing what we were told very clearly to do, i will try to ponder the cultural mechanisms.

ciao for now

Mark said...

Brilliant thoughts and true... we must care for the poor the widow and the orphan but I think that Jesus did not reach everyone... he reached many but there were many that he did not reach... He depends on xians to reach different people[first example of this is the man from gerasene]Mark 5.21. WE are all called to reach the poor, the orphans, etc. Last time I checked these 'states' do not fall under a socio-economic status. Didn't Jesus say the poor you will have with you always [Matt 26:11]. The poor are surrounding me when I step out into my neighborhood with 500,000-1,000,000 homes. The orphaned are near me when I go into the school hallways with the echos of children screaching and playing as the 'orphan' sits her class down to teach todays math lesson. Why is that reaching the poor widow and orphan always for the Xians is about reaching the homeless, or drug addict on the street. These people are important in God's eyes but many a time I think these poor folk are only the object of people trying to appease their own guilt. They stroke themselves of their sense of accomplishment for making a life better... but in some cases it is not helping anyone at all... other than the good feelings the 'benevolent' person gets [something I call humaintiarian masterbation].

I am not advocating that we do not help... but we need those that run to the assistance of the poor [as you would descibe] and those that run to the other spectrums of the socio-economic scales. Those that run into the political arena to make a difference, those that run into the entertainment industry to make a difference, those that run to the impoverished on all socio-econimic scales.
WE must be strategic as well as obedient. 'Wise as serpents and gentle as doves'... do the simple but wrestle with the bigger... the cultural mechanisms that will enable us to be more effective and longer lasting in our impact on our world.

My life follows much of what Jesus said ... I certainly do not want to cast my pearls before swine ... there are spheres of influence that I will find myself to be most effective... work in those spheres because that is where God wants me. I can tell you God has not called me to live in Nepal to minister to the mountain people... but your line of reason would suggest that I must do that... Prolly a goods thing and woudl consider it but is that where my sphere of influence lies???

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. We must find each other." - Mother Theresa

Dan Richardson said...

Mark...I like your illustration of the orphan math teacher...the picture in my mind is always some little african boy or girl...When Jesus said poor did he mean financially...or could there be other meanings bundled in there as well?

Mark said...

Dano ...EXACTLY!!! NOW were talking!!! Does our NA understanding predispose us to interpret it as financial? But there are many 'understandings' ... Doesn't Jesus say something about 'Poor in Spirit'

Jeremy Postal said...

This statement was made in an earlier comment:
"Why not embrace what Christ did, it is how he ministered."

I think that might be the big hairy climactic idea here...that we must embrace the things that Jesus embraced. Is it enough to believe in Jesus? I don't think so. I think it means believing in the things that Jesus believed in. What did Christ embrace? Culture. I think Jesus' model is quite clear in embracing culture >> it didn't have anything to do with standing back in heaven throwing outreach fish hooks out...in fact, it had a lot do with putting on a smelly first century and very fragile human suit.

Someone else also mentioned this:
"dictionary defines adapt to :make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose;"

That's interesting. What if we took adapt to mean "to make fit for"? Follow the following flow of thought by way of illustration...

What does God think of women? Briefly, I think it has to do with equality, love, respect, being honorable, family, buisness, wisdom, etc.

What does God command ancient Israelites to do with captured women?
Kill them....
...then later...
take them home, shave their heads, use them as slaves, or kill them
...then later...
bring them into your home as slaves
...then later...
don't touch the women
...then later...
teach them.

Ok...what's happening here? The same value is placed on women; i.e. women are highly valued and respected. However, the early culture never ever would have accepted something like "teach them". It would have been laughed at and thought to be illogical, non-sequential, and irrelevant. So...did God himself adapt something (or make fit for)so that culture would get it? Maybe he did.

Dano - I think you nailed it when you asked the question "What is love if we aren't intimantely involved in people lives?" Prepare your hand for a high five.

As my inbox has been flooded with response to this question....the big thing that I have seen is the issue of working out if culture is a good thing or a bad thing. Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter if it is good or bad > the fact is that culture is here regardless and that God believes in restored relationship between God and human and restored relationship b/w human and human...whether it is in a seemingly sterile culture or in a messy germ infested rat nest of a culture.

Last thought for now:
While Jesus was here, who did he "side" with? Was it the pharisee's and monastic essenes who where far removed from culture and had no impact on it? No. Maybe Jesus "sided" with the sadduuces who depended on the ruling culture for their authority and position? Nope. The militant zealots who wanted to overthrow culture? Wrong again. In fact, he spoke against each of these groups and somehow forged his own way through it all...

Thoughts?

Mark said...

I think as I gear up for a busy work week and come to a close of my Sabbath day... of which I must say this blog has been very much like 'church' to me. I think its safe to say that we really need to figure out what culture is - Lets take Jesus out of the whole thing for the moment... that is another blog itself. Culture is not evil ... nor is it good... same with money ... it is not evil nor good... but causes many to fall to various vices. There are moments that we must look beyond ourselves [what the impact of our personal life is on us and those directly linked to us] and look to a grander scheme that we are all a part of and have the ability to shape. How do we shape the directive of a city... a province... a nation? Some say it can't be done but if we are honest its already happening ... just not being done by those who have all the resource of Heaven resident in them. CSW on his blog ask the question which I think is worthy of a quote here. "Some think it’s enough just to want to matter – that it is noble enough, in itself, to be willing to take opportunities as they come. But it takes a deeper level of intention to say, “I’m going to make opportunities” or “I’m going to structure my life to make opportunities more likely”.

Will we be intentional in our desire to change the world we live in?

randomandrew said...

(off topic)

matt 6:28 comment was a type-o

should be matt 5:28. sorry kids!

Mark said...

caught that ... I knew what you were referring to from the start...

Dan Richardson said...

Mark...I agree...culture is being transformed...just not by us and it takes intentionality on our part...

Jer...good to see your alive and kicking...let me know when coffee will work for the supa'star conference guy..haha.

Andrew...you almost gave me a heart attack...glad to see your not a nutjob...haha.

Got a breakfast meeting...tootaloo for now internerds.

Ric said...

Last thought for now:
While Jesus was here, who did he "side" with? Was it the pharisee's and monastic essenes who where far removed from culture and had no impact on it? No. Maybe Jesus "sided" with the sadduuces who depended on the ruling culture for their authority and position? Nope. The militant zealots who wanted to overthrow culture? Wrong again. In fact, he spoke against each of these groups and somehow forged his own way through it all...

Thoughts?
I think "sided" is a bad word to use. It reminds me of every school yard bully I have ever run into. Yet that is for another day I guess. First, I grasp we are to be part of the world, I stand by my thoughts of having to "be seperate" from it as well. So, can I throw this out there- :"Are we to be aware of the world and culture" Jer I disagree that Jesus embraced culture, I see text after text where Christ seperated himself from the culture so he could embrace the Father. I think Christ was aware of the culture, but as I said before if we are to use the word culture, I think Christ embraces a culture not of this world. He embraces the culture of His Father, of the Spirit, this is the culture we are to embrace. Jesus told the pharisee's when they tried to cast doubts on him during the banquet Levi held, "31Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
the rightous are the pharisee's-so who in our church? jesus did not turn his back on these guys, but they proclaimed self rightousness, he came for those who had no clue! yup, mark did give me food for thought in regards to the poor in Spirit, and yes we do need not to just focus on socio-economic groups, yet again, that is what Christ did. Levi was not poor, John, Peter, James, all pretty well off, businesmen, ummmm, one criminal, whatever, he chose these few to start with, so they could reach out.
So, I sum up in this manner- Christ reached out to the sinner, he emphasized certain groups of people, and in my view was aware of the culture but did not embrace it. I have not seen any evidence to show me other wise. We can choose to "embrace" this culture, I do not think we are "pharisee's" if we do not, if we are aware of this culture, its implications on us, on society, on man kind. Until someone shows me that it was an earthly culture Christ embraced-not a heavenly one, I am going to follow His footsteps on that course. Yup, reach out to those in need, but embrace the Father, the Son, The Spirit, and keep in mind I am just a visitor here, an alien.

Anonymous said...

randomandrew...says...........anti-christian is so integrated into our culture; christian is morally wrong. we can't adapt the message to a culture who opposes the message.

I love this, it sums up what I feel, those that are embracing God, drawing near to Him, embracing the Son, the Spirit, and taking the Word that was given to us as instructions on how to live, and pray, and exist in this world as "visitors or aliens" knowing that this is not our home, that the things in it are dust, and we are to proclaim the gospel, reach out into the world, to do what He did during his earthly ministry.
Just my last side note. Are we now looking at those that are doing what Christ, Paul, Peter, JAmes all told us to do- and saying to them, man dude ya got it wrong, that is not what was meant when God gave out those instructions. See, black and white, no grey areas- we can squirm around the issues as much as we want, but it comes down to what God has told us to do!
So, show me where in the Bible Christ embraced the culture in this world, where any of the 12 did, besides Judas, and Peter when he denied Christ, oh and when they chose to sleep instead of commune with god.........yup our culture is not one I am going to embrace, not even one of those hugs ya give someone where ya keep a lot of air between, cuz james makes it clear to me at least, where that leads.
Thanks Mr random i have enjoyed your posts

Mark said...

There are a couple glaring holes in the logic of the above posts ... have your attention now... if we are going to put a stakein the ground and make claims of 'black and white' we must realize what we are communicating in our unwritten and unspoken thoughts. IF we are to say things like "we can't adapt the message to a culture who opposes the message." and then give a discourse on saying why that is not a way to live [thats cool for you] but hopefully that is not a blanket statement that excludes all Christians from embracing culture. IF its black and white in essence what you are saying is you are right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong... VERY HYPOCRITICAL!!!

Also to be noted that 'culture' in itself does not oppose the message. That is simply a misread of culture. Cues from smaller subcultures maybe...[is agnostic groups/satanists etc] that are not a representation of the mainstream culture. If there are negative responses to the message from the mainstream culture it usualy is in reaction to a foolish bigoted statement made by a misinformed xian or group of xians [known as finatics] These types of thought processes that lead 'xian' people [or better defined 'hypocrites'] to make these statements are just as detrimental to the message as the vices that some fall into.
I also think it funny that people woudl ask for Scripture to show an opposite view... so my questions are this.
1) Does God call people to impact culture which in turn impacts the values and norms of many people?
2) If a person were to give a good scriptural base for embracing culture would people consider the flaws in their logic... or would they simply deny it is misinterpretation of Scripture?

Ric said...

mark,
if the scripture is taken in context, that it is not a piece here or there placed together to make it work, absolutely. that is what i asked to see.
i do not think i said i am right and everyone else is wrong, what i said was i do not believe Christ embraced the culture of the world, I am asking for clear scriptural referances that he did in fact embrace the world, and its culture. Not the people, but the culture. I have an over whelming passion to reach people with the gospel, i do not see how me being a part of their world does that, i get understanding where they are at, i hope that clarifies my previous statement.
next you say i am hypocritical, so be it, your opinion, yet if i am taking the bible as an entire truth, and that is my how I base my walk, who is hypocritical?
To take obscure groups, satanists etc and say they are anti christian yes, anti gospel-sure they are, but our culture is not.........man, look around us, what does this culture place value on, sex, materialism, self, desires of the flesh! if that is not opposed to the message please show me where i am wrong in that statement.
we are to influence people in our lives, who we come into contact with. we are to reach these people, for some it is school teachers or math wizards, others of us will touch the lives of a drunk or drug addict, others will influence bankers, movie stars, the gay community. that is all good, and as we influence them, as they find and discover jesus christ, the gospel , hopefully they go out and influence others from their old world. Christ impacted the culture of his time, he was not a part of that culture there, and no one has yet to show me differently.

Dan Richardson said...

My interpretation of culture is that the people are the culture...everything they are is what composes culture...so when you embrace people...you embrace culture. When you don't embrace culture, you aren't embracing people which makes it impossible to love people. Drinking doesn't equal "culture". Media doesn't equal "culture". People do.

I think I know where you are coming from Ric. My interpretation of your view from your posts is that what the people do (smoking, drinking, watching porn, etc...) equals culture and so you won't embrace the culture. But I don't think it has to do with what people do.

And then again, I could have my head up my butt and not know what I'm talking about...a regular occurance so forgive me if I'm wrong.

Dan Richardson said...

You know...I think I'm wrong with my interpretation of culture...this is what dictionary.com says


1. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
2. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
3. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
4. The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.


So culture IS the attitudes and behavior of the people. So my conclusion is that we are using the wrong word when we use "embrace" which means

1. To clasp or hold close with the arms, usually as an expression of affection.
2.
1. To surround; enclose: We allowed the warm water to embrace us.
2. To twine around: a trellis that was embraced by vines.
3. To include as part of something broader. See Synonyms at include.
4. To take up willingly or eagerly: embrace a social cause.
5. To avail oneself of: “I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace” (Henry James).


I think embrace is to become a part of. So if we were to become a part of culture that would mean we would have the same attitudes and values that the system of world has...which I believe we aren't supposed have. BUT...we are still supposed to be a light in the darkness...meaning we have to get into the dark places in order to be a light. Saying we are a light doesn't mean we are...only when darkness is dispelled do we become a light and we can't do that by standing from a distance.

Ric said...

The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning "to cultivate", generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. Different definitions of "culture" reflect different theoretical bases for understanding, or criteria for evaluating, human activity.

dan- so as webster defines it as human activity............see, i still do not think it is the culture we are to embrace, because we as believers should have a different culture. does that make sense?
we hopefully show our culture enough and in a fashion that those of this NA culture want to embrace our culture, and our culture is one from Christ.but like you, i could be way off..................

Anonymous said...

ahhhhh you beat me to it

Ric said...

dan, and that is what Christ modeled. he was out there in the markets , the where evers, reaching , preaching, teaching, healing and just loving (like carmen) yet he always went off, to teach with the disciples, or to pray, to "embrace" God, see, yup, we are in this world, but not of this world. again, for me, it is black and white, i can go into the sewer cuz i dropped my wifes diamond ring in the strom grate, but just cuz tehre is something valuable down there does not mean i am going to make it my home! it may have to be a temporary residence however! LOL

Jordan/Yoda/Clambo said...

I appologize for not reading all of the 80 comments above, thus my comment will probably be repeatative. I think it's true, but there's not a single church that hasn't adapted to some sort of culture. Even the most traditional churches have adapted to the the culture of the elderly, and the culture of those already in the church (and indeed the culture of those who are looking for a traditional church). I do think we need more churches that adapt to the modern pop culture a little better, but I would not say that any church which adapts to the traditional church culture is hypocritical and anti-Christian. The fact is that there are unchurched people looking for a traditional church (though there are few). We need the traditional church, which adopts itself to the culture of the elderly and the tradition loving, just as much as we need the church that adopts itself to the teen culture and, indeed, the children's culture. Perhaps this is just my happy optimistic worldview, and a tad bit ignorant, but I don't think that any church is failing to adapt to culture, but that there are so many different cultures it is impossible to fail to adapt to one of them.

Mark said...

So lets take Cultures definition from dano and work with that

1. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. The key terms to be aware of in this are 'socailly transmitted' which means there must be an exchange of somekind. So How are the arts evil? How are institutions evil? And how are human philosphies evil? From what understand in the underpinnings of this culture there are values and activities that are based on these truths... redemption, there is hope that I can make a difference, human benevolence, true love can be found, human life is valuable.
In saying this however there are behaviors that people carry out that are contradictory to this... if we want to keep score on these behaviors [which Christians are very quick to do] we miss the point. These are entry points that should be flagged and seen as points of entry into which the enenmy of God's creation is infiltrating to undermine to steal, kill and destroy. This is a dynamic situation that leaves us with two choices... Run away... or be intentional in reshaping that belief system that is breaking apart.

So let me give an example of how this can be followed through... Although not an ideal it will help us understand. Bob and Sally are owners of a large corporation with many employees. They operate off the 50th floor of an office building. Bob noticed one day while waiting for the elevator a growing agiation amoungst the workers. So he decided to mention it to sally. Sally noticed the same thing the next day while waiting in the group of people for the elevator. She even felt agitated herself as she overheard people talking. So Bob and Sally both realized there ws a dysfunction amounst the office staff...Was it them...were they not doign their job? They talked to employees and could not get any reason why there was a sense of agitation amoungst the staff. Something wasn't right but no one could put their finger on it. Something was wrong with the human activities/ socially transmissitted patterns [or the culture] in the office. The culture was showing that something needed to be changed. Of course what many xians would do is go on a witch hunt. Do Bob and Sally need to quit? Do the xians need to cast out the demons of agitation that lurk at the elevator? [joke] Do they need to haul everybody in to tell their office staff to grow up!?
Problem was solved very easily but only after understanding/embracing the culture of the office. The people were successful/driven and highly motivated people. Driven and inspired by the taskes they had to accomplish each day. The frustration they had was the fact that they had to stand and wait for the elevator. Too many things to do and much on their minds... moments of inneffectivenss waiting for the elevator left them agitated. How did they deal with it? Believe it or not all they had to do was put a wall mirror to provide a healthy distraction for the office staff, to get their minds off [for a few seconds] their tasks. Brilliant understanding of the culture and reading the flags appropriately.

In our culture we must 'engage' or adapt in the same way to deal with these things... All things are redeemable are they not? If its so evil then it is because good men have been silent for too long.

Ric said...

mark..you keep using phrases like "of course what many christians would do is go out on a witch hunt." you are mixing two extremes as well, engae in culture, i think we all do that in some form, adapt to culture, that is a fine line, because to adapt to culture we must as dan stated, embrace the values of that culture.
mark tell me what you think our NA culture is. You have brushed on the topic, but when you are asked to be specific you pull out the shiney object and say look at this instead.
no more shiny objects, what are the values of the culture in NA today, in Canada today, in Vancouver today?

Mark said...

I have stated them several times in the posts ... read it again ... maybe you will catch them.

Anonymous said...

culture
Part of Speech: noun 1
Definition: education
Synonyms: ability, accomplishment, address, aestheticism, art, breeding, capacity, civilization, class, courtesy, cultivation, delicacy, dignity, discrimination, dress, elegance, elevation, enlightenment, erudition, experience, fashion, finish, gentility, good taste, grace, improvement, kindness, learning, manners, nobility, perception, polish, politeness, practice, proficiency, refinement, savoir-faire, science, skill, sophistication, tact, training, urbanity

Mark said...

give me a break... put your dictionary away [weve already done that] and use your gray matter. I apprecaite that ric is using his head and trying to work these things through.

Anonymous said...

isn't culture built on what people desire or covet? man is created (and woman) with a sinful nature, unless some time during the journey they become "saved" and follow Christ, and become a slave of God those flesh desires dictate what they embrace.
so, through that logic our culture is based on the desires of the flesh.
so, Xian "A" can go work for Company "Z", A can do his job, to the best of his ability, and at that time be a witness of JC. When push comes to shove A discovers that he must make a choice to expose some comapny wrong doings, maybe another employee stole, or the manger is sleeping with his secretary, he chooses to do so and loses his job, because the manger was pissed. We do not need to give up our standards or beliefs, they just may cost us in the long run.

Jeremy Postal said...

Annonymous
I don't really think that culture is built on what people desire or covet.
Culture is built on the culture that came before it and takes it's transitional cues from the culture around it.Theologically speaking, man was not created with a sinful nature...that has just been a clever little trick used to show over and over again how bad/evil culture is. The reaility is that man was created whole and in perfect community with God and with other humans which, by the way, is our original culture. The whole of the Bible is the story of being restored back to this culture.

Here is something Len Sweet wrote: "The church may oppose the world in it's sinfulness, but the church itself was designed for sinners, not saints. And the fallness of all cultural forms means that the church identifies with the world in all of it's creatureliness."

I would suggest that ones life will have zero, nope sorry, negative impact on culture if we try and set up a Christian worldview that is intolerant to culture. Negative in that it perpetuates the idea that religion and Christians are ignorant. I think for the large part this happens; I assume we could largely agree that ignorance breeds arogance. Nobody likes an arogant person or belief.

Anonymous said...

so does paul lie in his writings. i guess so because paul says we are born with a sinful nature.

Jeremy Postal said...

I suppose you don't spot the glaring difference between "being born" and "created". Hope that clarify's....

Mark said...

lol...never undersestimate the power of stating the obvious....

Anonymous said...

jeremy postal says.....Theologically speaking, man was not created with a sinful nature...that has just been a clever little trick used to show over and over again how bad/evil culture is.

While it is true that man was not created with a sinful nature it is
nevertheless true that post-fall humanity inherits their parents sinful
nature which is what is at work in humanity at the present and it will
continue to be so until Christ returns. It is also that nature which we are
curently being saved from. Scripture clearly affirms the collective sinfulness of humanity (e.g. Romans 3:23) so
we need not worry about this sort of liberal trash. And while it is true
that this truth has often been abused in some pulpits it still does not
change the fact that all of humanity is inherantly sinful and needs the
redemption that only come through Jesus Christ.

randomandrew said...

ric, i sympathise with your shiney object comment. *sigh*

unfortunately, when talking about culture, you leave out it's most important part: society's code of ethics (the laws and morals by which it governs itself) and it's communal stance in religion (what it is the community believes, their attitude towards religions)

these cultures are not inherantly evil, as you have made the argument sound to be, but are evil when they conflict with the statues God has given us. about the shortcommings of our culture you say, "This is a dynamic situation that leaves us with two choices... Run away... or be intentional in reshaping that belief system that is breaking apart." The truth of the matter is that this culture is neither breaking apart, nor requires us to pick one of two choices.

some ministers are volounteers at a soup kitchen. some ministers are missionaries in cambodia. some ministers are planers in a wood mill. some mininsters are the mothers who bake their daughter's drug dealing boyfriend cookies (specific sermon example... really good sermon! :D) probably none of these people will ever change the culture they minister to. the point is that we are ministers to a culture, and not against a culture.

you rely way too heavily on your own skills and abilities. you do remember that it is Jesus who saves, right? regardless of how much time you spend in culture (hopefully a lot, but judging by the amount of comments made within 2 days, probably not...) people who find Jesus find Jesus not because you brought Him to them, but because the Holy Spirit has convicted them. our ministries should never be success-based, when we see zero "converts" then we assume failure, which is false. although these are things that you have not directly said or opposed yourself, i can see that some arguments you are making are birthed out of these understandings. i say this due to one comment in particular, but all of them in general: on the term counter-cultural you say, "This is a dynamic situation that leaves us with two choices... Run away... or be intentional in reshaping that belief system that is breaking apart."

Show the love of God to others, and let Him do the work. Whose story is it? Whose ministry do we perform? Who deserves the glory? Shift your focus from being a revolutionary to being a slave, and your perspective changes.

randomandrew said...

sorry, that last comment should be addressed to mark after the 1st paragraph, starting "unfortunately, when talking about culture..."

randomandrew said...

arg! on the term counter cultural i quoted you saying "This is a dynamic situation that leaves us with two choices... Run away... or be intentional in reshaping that belief system that is breaking apart"

but i wanted to quote you saying, "I think we use that term to cover as a lame excuse for inneffectiveness, laziness and mediaocrity"

*sigh* failure to proofread.

Mark said...

hmmm... Randomandrew....I think you need to be careful about making assessments of my cultural engagments based on the fact that I have TAKEN time out of my busy life to learn with others in a blog community [which is very intentional on my part]. You have said much ... wish I could respond to all of it... maybe sometime I will... when looking at all these ministers that you mentioned... you are thinking of them too small... they are VERY significant and CAN/WILL shape culture as they are intentional in doing so.
Let me ask you this... who gives skills and abilities?... who is the one who puts within man gifts and skills? and hopefully the desire to do things that reflect quality and excellence? Honestly, I think people blaspheme the name of God when the don't take responsibility to 'own' the great commission. Do I rely on my skills and abilities? ... absolutley... do I rely on them alone ...ABSOLUTLEY NOT... That is is the mystery of the gospel... I give to God everything I have to the best of my ability and work every skill to its maximum in conjunction with the Spirit.... much coudl be said about htis but I really don;t think responding to your provocations of my effectivenss is worth my time or energy.
Challenge my thought processes but do not make judgement calls on my life.

Jeremy Postal said...

Mark - I agree with you; RandomAndrew, you were/are certainly out of line.

Please rephrase.

Anonymous said...

why is he out of line? why does he need to re-phrase his opinion? just because he does not agree with mark, and marks take on things, does not make it so he is wrong. random made some valid points, the whole idea behind opinions is our ability to disagree.

Mark said...

I have no issue with a person disagreeing at all... when they begin to make judgments calls on my effectiveness that is not appropriate... nor is it pure to the intent of this blog, to learn grow and talk about the initial post on engaging culture.

Ric said...

I am lucky in a form because I have this week off because it is reading week at SPC. Marie is busy at work, and I am digging into the Word to research some papers, as well as reading some books on leadership. I get to work (hopefully) for a few hours on Thursday if I can get my doctor to say it is okay. regardless of all of that I have sat the past day and read some of the comments.
First I take offence to the statement : "I would suggest that ones life will have zero, nope sorry, negative impact on culture if we try and set up a Christian worldview that is intolerant to culture. Negative in that it perpetuates the idea that religion and Christians are ignorant. I think for the large part this happens; I assume we could largely agree that ignorance breeds arogance. Nobody likes an arogant person or belief."
I am intolerant of this culture, I disagree with the values it embraces and the lives it continues to destroy, yet I am out there daily trying to reach the one lost sheep, maybe just maybe allowing someone to see Christ in my life. Just because I do not like this culture does not mean I have zero or negative effect. Second , yes ignorance does breed arogance, and Jer, maybe it goes both ways because you seem to have placed little value on what random or anoynoumous or myself believe.
Next, in marks defence, I do not know you or how much work you do or do not put into reaching people for Christ, that is between you and God, and at that point I find you an interesting person and hope we bump into each other one day. I figure we have more in common than what is exposed in these writings.
Last, I read a post regarding the theology of what jers post was, I again agree with the writer. we do not have to listen to the liberal ramblings of whoever, but if we choose to read them and they frustrate us, then go to another BLOG . I disagree with jer's analogy but I point it out, and what he chooses to do or say again is not up to me but him and his own relationship with God.
effectiveness is based on fruits, and the fruits are either good and healthy or they are rotten.
i do not believe we need to like a culture to help those caught up in it, nor do I beleieve that we need to be anything but what Christ modeled for us.
And last, jer said that the Bible is a book about us getting back to that place where we all started (adam started) a perfect relationship with God thru Christ. it is a book of redemption, sanctification, saving grace, and it is our guideline. Christ did not embrace the culture he was in, he embraced the original relationship man had with God the Father.

Mark said...

RIC ... your post is complelling and thank you for your kind words... we will meet one day I guarentee it. I am very happy to be a healthy critic of thought and that is what draws me to such a post. I feel it is good to provoke in a healthy way people to thouhgt... for some this makes them angry ... but shoudl never go to the poitn of maligning a persons character... that being said if reading ablog angers a person... than need not go somewhere else... that is 'running away' they need to ask why does this bother me so... and digg deeper into their belief system.. that to me is what honest deconstruction is all about... and the term 'deconstruction' is certainly not a good term - its more like - 'quantum construction' [jer I thought you might mlike that one]. Ric I would have to say that your logic [although well thought out and precise in some areas] to me is very interesting and in some ways seems it presents some mixed messages... and thats ok... no one can claim to have it all right?...I could be wrong ... but this will show itself in time.

Jeremy Postal said...

Ok - I do need to clear something up.

Are you guys suggesting it is liberal theology trash to say that humans were originally created in whole community/relationship/culture with God and that God's intent and, indeed the whole story of the Bible, is to a restored community/relationship/culture?

I don't see how that is liberal theology?? I'm all ears...


On a different note to clarify why I think ranDOMandrew should re-phrase: disagreement about an issue and personal judgement calls are entirely two different things. This blog is not the place for personal judgement calls.

On that note > Ric, I was not talking in the first person in regards to ignorance breeds arogance, but rather, in the third person; this is a fundamental difference in dialogue and communication and will be helpful to learn to spot in future conversations.

I would suggest that an attiude of learning goes a long way in battleing ignorance....the purpose of this particular post on my blog. So I applaud and honor everyone who has so far contributed to this conversation.........it really is a form of eclectic learning.

Dan Richardson said...

I'm just curious...when Jesus hung out at the wedding and turned water into wine and hung out with sinners all throughout his ministry...what was he doing in terms of culture and why were the Pharisees so upset? Was it not because they saw him "conforming" to the culture? Then in Matt.11:19 Jesus points out that the Pharisees had wrongly accused him and had failed to see the wisdom in his approach and have failed to see the results of that approach. What was the approach that Jesus was talking about?

I'm just gonna bring this up and stir the pot. I go into a pub to hang out with sinners...am I conforming to culture? Maybe I don't drink...maybe I do...(What do you think Jesus is saying in this verse about his view on alcohol?) I understand the whole causing another person to stumble and what other Christians might think deal...heck...the Pharisees accused Jesus of being a drunk...how could they do that without seeing him drinking in public? Were they just pulling stuff out of their butts...or could they have had an impression from a distance without investigating further into the character of the person.

Jer...this could just take the comments to 200 hundred with this post!

Ric said...

dan, you and i have been discussing the "pub" thing and the "drinking" issue for several weeks. first, to make it as clear as possible, i do not believe alcohol has any redeeming qualities, i do not believe that we need to go to a pub to witness, the guys that we see in a pub we can see at work, in the gym, at a coffee bar, or at a buddies home. i have several reasons why this is my view, and i can get into the whole destruction of families, individual etc, or i can brush on how the waitress's dress, and why , and the fact that overall a pub is not an atmosphere to witness at/in. i am not gonna point fingers and yell sinner to those who do this, i am not saying it is a salvation issue, but i have an open invitation for anyone who wants to "hang-out" with me on a friday or saturday nite, and i will take ya on the back door tour of some pubs, some after hour clubs, and some drug/crack houses. it may not change your view, but it will open your eyes to what is happening out there.
Marie made a comment to me today that I found very intriguing, and truthful- she said "I am like an ex-smoker who has really quit, and goes and hits people upside the head when i see them smoke". for me it is not smoking, because i never smoked, it is anything to do with a life that flirts incredibly close to the world i have left. so, in this situation, i do not have tolerance, i do not see any good in it, and will never be one to promote any of those activities, nor would i or will i allow my children to ever be influenced by someone who thinks it is okay to do so.
dano-as far as Christ, being accused of being a drunkard, on and on......did the pharissees see Jesus bang back a couple of cold ones, maybe a nice chardonay, i have no idea, maybe they just supposed it, look at what He did as he hung on the cross and they offered him the cloth/sponge soaked in wine (and it was wine) he refused it.
i do not have the answers, i do not pretend to, but i will stand on my convictions, as much as people say i am legalistic, or way to "Pentecostal" (ie basing my life on the whole Holiness movement) tough.........hate me don't hate me, but i am who i am, tattoos and all

Ric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Evans Family said...

I am leaving a post because you told me to! I have read most of the posts and wow what a conversation. One thing i think might be missing are the epistemic principles that culture are based on. These need to be examined to understand whether the aspects of the culture are congruent with Christian principles. For example, if postmodernism states that objective truth cannot or should not be know. Does this align itself with what the Bible says about objective knowledge? Just a thought. If you respond to this I probably won't be back here for a bit so you can email me. My email is on my blog.

Blessings in your dialogue!

Andrew

Jeremy Postal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Boomer said...

True and False,

My knee-jerk reaction is to say that this is absolutely true, without cultural relevance the gospel is useless. However I find a transcendent nature of the Jesus and the gospel beyond time barriers. Though presentation is not a value of this generation it is simply the presentation that we are attempting to change. If you change Jesus and the Gospel from what they are, then they cease to exist as what they are. Perhaps to be called Jesus(b) or Gospel(b). Is an apple an orange because you decide to call it so? Each is entitled to their own opinion, or in this sense interpretation...hmmmm. It would seem in my mind to boil down to a truth issue. Can one declare truth? Each of us will have a varied interpretation based on personal culture. So is truth relative to each person’s perspective, or something outside the grasp on individuals or even the summation of the group?

Anonymous said...

Tralse... Jesus is as relevent today as he was 2000 years ago but culture is an inevitable form of human identity so culture should conform to Jesus and his teaching because we should take on Jesus's mission and teachings.
...I think.