Tag Archives: culture

Navigating Culture

Do you find it difficult to navigate through the waters of culture without losing your way? Do you find yourself being pulled into the cares and concerns of this world that are outside the will of God for how Christians should live? Do you lose site of the prize? The finish line in the race?

In reality, we all tend to be molded by our culture. We tend to value the things we are conditioned to value, and we tend to be concerned with the kinds of things that are common around us. As Christians, we are to seek the God’s Kingdom and eternal treasure, but we find ourselves buried in the daily grind.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of what my wife has coined “Christian in Culture Hacks.” These posts will be designed to help you navigate the waters of consumerism, climb past the mountains of instant gratification, run through the deserts of temptation, and move through the valley of trials and tribulation. Ultimately the map we develop for how to live in the world but not of the world, will help you to make it to the treasure at the end (which is a life lived in the goodness and blessings of God’s Kingdom).

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As I prepare to write posts to help us navigate through culture, if there are any specific issues that you would like me to cover, comment about them below and I will cover those topics.

As a little preview for the next post, I will be talking about how we should view advertisements and how we can keep from being pulled into the hype of what we must have this holiday season.

 

When to stop engaging culture…

I often talk about how Christians should engage culture…how they should be involved in the world, just not in its sinful practices. This of course is how we are in the world not of it…we are not defined by the things that go against the will of God, but we are to remain active in what goes on in our culture.

Today I would just like to briefly share about how someone can know when it is time to stop engaging.

I always encourage believers to ask three questions with regards to how we engage:

  1. How will engaging in this activity effect me?
  2. How will my participation in this effect others?
  3. How will it effect the cause of Christ?

If you can answer these questions positively, and the Holy Spirit is not convicting you to avoid the thing you are wanting to do, then it is an acceptable thing to engage in.

When I look at when to stop engaging I also ask myself several questions:

  1. Is this thing promoting something that is sinful and passing it off a virtuous?
  2. Is this thing calling me to embrace a message that is at odds with the will of God for my life?
  3. Does this thing portray sin or draw me into sin as a participant?

When something promotes sinful practices as virtuous and draws me in to sin as a participant, it is time to cease engaging with that thing.

Because of this there are certain books I will not read, certain shows I will not watch, and certain things I will not do. But this does not mean I write off an entire kind of thing as a whole, for example, I will not stop engaging with movies altogether, even if I choose not to watch certain ones.

It would be easy to get legalistic with all of this, but I would advise that each situation must be dealt with in its own unique way.

What comments or questions do you have for me about when to stop engaging in something that is part of our culture?

Has Glee changed culture?

Glee caused some major controversy when it first aired several years ago. As the story progressed it continued to push the envelope on moral issues and cultural standards of right and wrong. However, as the show brought new issues into the storyline, it seemed to make fewer and fewer headlines.

The series has now concluded and it has some asking how the show effected culture.

In the final season, the show introduced a new gay character names Spencer, who was played by Marshall Williams. In an interview, he shared that he believed the show Glee made it “ok” for people to be gay on TV. You can read the interview here: http://www.thebacklot.com/marshall-williams-interview-glee-post-modern-gay/01/2015/

When the show was not as fully developed, during the summers between seasons, a show called The Glee Project aired on television. On this show we got to see people compete for new roles on the show. Throughout this show we got to hear the writers voice their feelings about the purpose of the show and about what they could do with different kinds of characters.

I think the overall message of Glee is very clear: Be Who You Are. The show teaches people to embrace their identities no matter how quirky or weird, even if your identity brings bullying.

In some respects, I really like the show. I do not believe that bullying is ever acceptable and I think the show depicts this well. I also enjoy much of the music on the show and I like the characters. The show also has some good dialogue throughout on very important issues. It deals with cancer, stereotyping, single parent homes, blended families, competition, cliques, drug use, religion/spirituality, eating disorders, and of course gender issues.

But is being who we are the same as being who we are supposed to be?

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As Christians, how are we to engage the show and think about these issues?

I do believe that the show made it more acceptable for people to be gay on TV. More importantly, I believe it made it more trendy to be same-sex oriented in actual schools. I think we have seen an increase in people who identify as gay or lesbian in schools now specifically because of Glee.

I think the show has been the most important factor in states changing their position on same-sex marriage. I also think that the show has done more to raise the issue as a civil rights issue than a moral issue than any other campaign. Somehow I even think the show had a hand in the decision made by the supreme court last week.

For Christians, however, the issue is still a moral issue. If we say we belong to Christ and are subject to his Word, then we should live according to his Word. If the Bible makes it a moral issue, than Christians should not practice it. Therefore, we look like bad guys when we do not accept same sex practice. The thing is, we cannot force our beliefs on others. We cannot expect those who do not share our moral standards to live according to those standards.

But we are still left asking questions about people being who they are. We live in a world tainted by sin. Sin breaks the image of God in humanity. It makes us desire what we ought not desire. The question is, can sin corrupt us so much at birth that we really believe we are born as the wrong gender? Can we be born with an inclination towards same sex attraction? Yes!!! But I think that as practicing Christians, we must be obedient to the teachings of the Bible–even if that means living in celibacy. When we are born in sin, we are not born as who we are supposed to be. This is true for every single person. No one is born as who they are supposed to be. We can only become that person, when we give our lives to Christ and let him work in our hearts to change us. This is true for every issue, not just gender related issues.

What are your thoughts? How has Glee impacted the world around you?