Monday, August 27, 2007

I know its been a long time since I posted last, sorry about that. But like Josh said earlier I was stranded without the internet in a beautiful place known as Hume Lake. Anyway, I’ve just started a new semester at Biola and am looking forward to the courses I’m taking, specifically my Intro to Philosophy class.

Today was our first night and we discussed the Cultural Mandate stated in Genesis 1:26-28 and how it applies to our contemporary society. There were two points of my professor’s lecture in particular that captured my attention and started my mind on a contemplative avalanche of sorts. The points focused on our relationship with God and how we as Christians are to then transfer that relationship to the world/society we live in. These ideas struck me as simple at first but as I continued to consider them they became increasingly meaningful.

He proposed that for the world we are to:
1) Mend what is broken
2) Tend what is beautiful

Do we carry out this function as Christians in our society (local & global)? And what would it look like to complete such a function more effectively?

I feel that the Christian community could do much more with these two simple tasks!!! What these tasks focus on is culture; human cultures contain elements that are both broken and beautiful. Sadly, many Christians seem to see only the broken aspects and in an attempt to avoid the clearly sinful nature of society completely distance themselves from anything that is distinctly "non-christian" (music, movies, art, news...). In the pure motives behind such action we have effectively broken contact with and destroyed many possibilities to relate with the nations that God asks us to make disciples of. So how can we maintain purity of heart and mind but still reach out to the lost in a relational way?

By attempting to mend what is broken in worldly culture. We are here as God's workmen, to be unashamed, so let us face the ills of fallen nature (the same fallen nature that we ALL are victim to) with the mindset of workmen, desiring to influence our society for the purpose of the King! God commands us to "GO", not to adopt an Isolationist approach to life. We cannot do the lost a greater disservice than to recede into our Christian bubble, content to simply listen to the Newsboys and go to church twice a week.

How can such a lifestyle be justified?! Sure it might very well be considered "Godly" by any number of church-goers but consider Matthew 25... if we are limited to our bubble, when will we visit those sick or in prison, or feed the hungry or clothe the naked? With all of the Christian radio to listen to and Sunday School to attend, when will we have the time to carry out such messy, relational, "in-your-face" tasks?

I am so deeply convicted of my own inaction it is with an extremely heavy heart that I bring up these points. As a student at a private Christian school its all too easy to fall into a mindless state of Christianity, so please do not mistake my previous comments as an attack at any specific group or person, if anything its a sad self-realization. So lets end our placid bubble living and make an attempt to honestly mend what is broken in today's culture!!!

Secondly we are to tend what is beautiful in this world. Because of our fear of infection, we so often miss out on much of culture that is absolutely amazing!!! God created each individual with their own talents wheather they choose to accept that fact or not. Let us focus on such talents when interacting with the lost, let us bring out and cultivate relationships that can emphasize the theme of God's creativity in each of us. Through such relationships God will make Himself evident. We must NOT limit God to passing out tracts and once a week "street evangelism"!!! When considering both points it is imperative that we look to the best example we could ever have for life, the example of Christ.

He lived a messy, personal, in-your-face life of ministry. He focused on the importance of connecting with individuals on cultural levels that they understood and embraced. There was no bubble of separation in His life but rather He integrated Himself into the culture of those he ministered to, not shying away from those that were viewed as unclean or unworthy. My hope is that the body of Christ can in time continue to move closer toward the example of its King.

by Matt Gould