Monday, December 19, 2011

Think What You Want, This Isn't A Commercial - Opening a discussion on the idea of "relevant".

Francis Shaeffer once wrote, "If a man goes overseas for any length of time we would expect him to learn the language of the country to which he is going. More than this is needed, however, if he is really to communicate with the people among whom he is living. He must learn another language - that of the thought-forms of the people to whom he speaks. Only so will he have real communication with them and to them. So it is with the Christian church. Its responsibility is not only to hold to the basic, scriptural principles of the Christian faith, but to communicate these unchanging truths "into" the generation in which it is living."

I've thought about this all weekend. The Nashville campus of Lifehouse Church recently moved into a building and some of us are beginning to ask, "How can we do more to reach out to our community now that we have a home?"

For my part, this has reignited my enthusiasm to start The Summer Country Podcast. About a year ago, my band had this great idea: We'll start a podcast to tell people about what excites our band without talking about our band. As we developed the idea, it became clear we wanted to specifically focus on exciting things going on in Nashville. Aside from anyone listening, I think it'll do for us what Schaeffer describes.

All that said, how do you feel about the word "relevant" in the context of Christian living, mission, etc?


MorsIndutus said...

I'm sad to say that the majority of the Christian church has made itself completely irrelevant to the rest of our culture. We listen to Christian music, read Christian books from Christian bookstores, shop at Christian businesses and generally remove ourselves from any interaction with the unsaved that we can help. I can honestly say that until my first job at Burger King when I was 16, I didn't know anyone who wasn't at least ostensibly a Christian. I knew non-Christians existed but I didn't have any meaningful interaction with them until I was old enough to drive! I know my sheltered childhood might be an extreme case, but several of the people I grew up with didn't even have a television in their houses for fear of "worldliness". In many ways we don't even speak the same language as the rest of our culture.

If we want to be relevant, we need to be out there. How are we going to learn to love people if we don't have any interaction with them? Which is not to say we need to immerse ourselves in the ways of the world entirely, but American Christians take the "Not of the world" part to extreme while ignoring the "Be in the world" part entirely. We need to be out, interacting with people and spreading God's Love to them. The people who need Love most are not often in Church. (Although a lot of people IN church need to feel the love too. God knows, I did. Save for a few notable exceptions, I didn't feel truly accepted anywhere until I started hanging out with non-Christians, a fact that continues to sadden me to this day.) If we want to be relevant, we need to be accepting of everyone. Love is always relevant.

Isaiah Kallman said...

Okay, I hear you. Do you see success in Christians understanding culture and communicating the gospel in it?