Culture

October 23, 2006

I mentioned in the previous post a sermon on culture. Since then, I have given thought to the challenge of relating to culture. The preacher of the sermon, Larry Kirk, made an observation regarding the pendulum of Christians responses to culture. To one side of the pendulum swing is the position of assimilation. That cannot be the best option. In that position, no distinction can be made between the Christian and the culture. The other end of the pendulum swing is that of attacking the culture.

The attack position is the Christian ghetto approach – fence off the culture so that there is no interaction unless it is to venture out and fight. This position is not the best option either, but it is much more difficult to expose this as the wrong approach. We can easily spot the assimilators and it is easier for some to question the authenticity of their Christianity.

Having lived at or near both extremes, I would like to consistently stay in the middle of the pendulum. That option is to live as a sojourner – being distinctly Christian but being so in the midst of the culture in which we find ourself.

A sojourner is not a tourist. I know how tourists interact with culture. I run a beachside resort hotel in Daytona Beach. I have seen tourists that lose all semblance of their own culture in order to take what the tourist culture offers. People do things that they would never do at home. Boy, do I have stories that I could tell.

Too often I have been the tourist. I also have dwelt in the Christian sub-culture ghetto for too long. I was booted out of the ghetto when my actions were more like the evil outside culture. I would suggest that others simply move to a new neighborhood.