The U.S. is very rich in culture. We influence the entire world as we regularly produce media that is spread all over.
It’s not just a great pride we can take in our nation, though. It’s also a great responsibility.
People around us in our neighborhoods, at our jobs, in our cities, are dealing with so much. Good and bad. And the Scriptures tell us that we have to find common ground. We have to be able to relate.
Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
He labored at finding common ground. In that same passage, he explained that when he was speaking with Jews, he was someone who understood the Mosaic law. When speaking with Greeks, he emphasized that the law was no longer binding since we’re under grace.
To Paul, being able to relate to people had a direct relation to how well he could communicate the gospel. And this makes perfect sense. If you can’t show why the gospel matters to a person’s life, then why would they feel a need to believe it?
The fact is that the gospel has an answer to every problem in life. But it’s our job to learn what our culture deals with. And then to provide those answers in a way that people can understand.
Relating to people requires study. But what exactly should we study?
The Culture Needs You to Know about Current Events
Here you’ve got lots of issues which you must understand and be able to engage people about.
First, you must understand what the gospel has to say concerning Islam. Then you’ve gotta deal with what the Bible says about murder. Next, you need to understand the Christian perspective about homosexuality (and more specifically how we deal with people who practice homosexuality. The distinction is small, but extremely important).
I’ve got a hint for you – all of it revolves around justice, love, forgiveness, perseverance, and hope in the return of Christ when He will wipe away all our tears.
The gospel has an answer for all problems.
But if you don’t keep up with current events, you’ll never know the problems which need to be addressed. The problems which our fellow Americans are dealing with.
We all suffer these national tragedies together and the emotions become extremely complicated. The issues become complex when politics enters the conversation. But it’s worth the effort to stay up-to-date.
Get a News app on your phone and check it every day. It takes just a few minutes, and you can scan the headlines for important stories.
The Culture Needs You to Read Classics
War and Peace. A Tale of Two Cities. Lord of the Flies. The Iliad and The Odyssey. Don Quixote. The Count of Monte Cristo. 1984. Sense and Sensibility. The Republic.
They’re all classic books, and they all tell about the history of Western culture. These and many more describe societies that did many good things, but also many terrible things.
And I’ve got news for you. As King Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” We make the same mistakes today as a people.
Read these books so that you can understand why our culture does the things it does. And engage people concerning our timeless faults. When you connect with people in this way, you can bring great wisdom into the conversation and show great insight as the gospel relates.Engage people concerning our timeless faults. #culture Click To Tweet
The Culture Needs You to Understand Pop Culture
But the fact is that Christians tend to live in a bubble. I know Christians who don’t listen to any non-Christian music. Some will never watch any R-rated movies, regardless of its usefulness to culture.
Well, my opinion is that we should all be able to enter conversations with people about popular media. Best-selling books. Popular movies and TV shows. Music. Celebrities. Internet influencers. Social media.
And we don’t have to go overboard. I’m not saying that we have to worship celebrities (in fact, we better not). We don’t have to read People Magazine for the latest gossip.
But maybe we should read Time Magazine for its analysis of culture.
We should learn how to engage in the subject of pop culture in a way that brings intelligence, love for others, and stronger relationships to the forefront.
The Culture Needs You to Understand Your Heritage
This one is two-fold.
First, we must understand our American roots. We have to learn about our history – politics, wars, accomplishments, social paradigms, technology.
If we look like the historically-illiterate people in this video, we will make the ourselves look stupid. And more importantly, we will make Christians and Christ himself look stupid.
Second, we must understand our ethnic backgrounds. Learn about the history of your own people.
I am Filipino. Therefore, I spend time reading Filipino classic books. I study the ancient, older, and contemporary history of the Philippines. I read about the Archipelago’s art, social issues, and political atmosphere. I work to comprehend the problems which Filipino-Americans face.
You should do the same for your heritage, whether you are black, white, yellow, red, blue, purple or orange. In doing so, you’ll be able to relate to those with the same heritage, and your ability deal with common problems as they relate to the gospel will grow.We have to learn about our history - #politics, #wars, #accomplishments, #socialparadigms,… Click To Tweet
The Culture Needs You to Learn about Your Occupation
So learn about it!
I am a nurse. So I read nursing journals, blogs, contemporary news sources, discussion forums. In doing so it helps me do my job better.
As we become life-long learners in our profession, we excel in our work. And as we excel in our work and engage others in that work, we show competence and ability. Those things honor God, because He is the one who has made us competent and able.
Labor to understand the people around us and what is important to them. Don’t be afraid to venture away from Christian media.
Learn how to converse in a way that is non-threatening, but still truth-bearing. As I said before, the gospel contains answers to all problems in all creation.
Work to comprehend what those answers are and speak them to others in the context of their very own lives.
Also published on Medium.