A fresh dialogue on the interface of Church and culture is going on over at Dan Kimball’s blog. Here was my response to his recent video on why non-believers like Jesus, but not the Church.One of the great challenges will be helping the Church to negotiate this change, Dan:
“Can the Church begin to read, listen to, and view extended perspectives with which they disagree?”
This element is not in popular Church culture today, for all the right reasons (i.e. historically – we have seen a need to protect ourselves and the purity of the message we bear).
Opening ourselves to this dialogue with the world, calling people to be who they were made to be (as opposed to a monologue, telling people who they are not and could only be if they will give our brand of discipleship a turn about the room), will radically change the Church.
I think that change will feel (as it does now) quite negative for a time, but in gravity’s pull, will come back around to a renewed strength we may not live to see.
To dialogue in this way will demand a stronger and larger Story than we are currently telling in our communities, but which N.T. Wright and other theologues are affirming in their works of hope.
The themes of New Creation, Resurrection and Eden Mission (my own phrase) stand with great strength among the most compassionate and tolerant ideologies of the day.
Our creational story is similar to many, but our redemptive story is not. We must cultivate a stronger redemptive Story in the Church for real engagement to take place.
The Story we are often presenting is simply not large enough, biblical enough, substantial enough, to penetrate the deepest feelings and thoughts of a postmodern world.
That God would “come bursting out of the center of the maze” and express Himself through one tribe of the human race, the Jews, is indeed both a joyful possibility and a stumbling block.
That the average Christian’s Story, told in a thousand ways and allowing truth to reveal itself, could speak these ideas into the heart of the world would be a significant part of the new day we are after.”