Culture: Create v. Dictate
Jud Wilhite’s new book Eye’s Wide Open arrived last week. Thanks to Jud and Lori and Ben Zimmerman I was fortunate to recieve an advance copy on the premise that I would blog and review it as much as possible. I got to page 86 and had to stop. What I read has challenged me. Here’s what’s got me “all shook up”*:
As priests, we are responsible to each other and to our culture to encourage, to challenge, to walk alongside one another on this journey with Jesus. God wants to use you to make an impact for Him each day by serving as a reconciler, as a go between for other people and Himself.”
As a Christian leader (pastor at a church) I am constantly bombarded by the question/charge that as Christians we should be creating culture. But that’s not what I think it’s all about and Jud has helped me understand more completely how it works. Christianity is counter-culture, in that regard the culture that we create should not look at all like what the world has to offer. Right? I understand relevance. I understand meeting people where they are and not waiting or expecting them to come to us. But culture? Seems to me the expectation is that Christians should be the driving force behind art, design, media, what’s in and what’s out. As if everyone should be naturally drawn to or gravitate to all things Christian because we did it and God is on our side.
So what does this have to do with the book? I believe that knowingly or unknowingly Jud has shown us that Christianity speaks to culture, it serves culture as another option. Christianity IS the lifeline to a culture bent to self-centered loneliness. As Christians we all serve as priests intent on serving and loving others as beacons of God’s love and grace. How can we be beacons of God’s love if we are more focused on trying to create culture than we are representing him? I also believe this speaks against the temptation of shallow Christianity focused more on culture than on priesthood.
Preisthood. Thanks for reintroducing me to that word Jud.