Category Archives: Christians Engaging Culture

Topics related to Christian living in the world as the salt and light

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO US?

I often wonder what Jesus would say to his professing followers of the 21st Century. Would it be “Well done good and faithful servants?” Or would it be “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites?” Of course, there is no official position of scribe in Jesus’s Church, nor does any Christian faction call itself Pharisee. Yet some of his followers seem determined to resurrect these labels in spirit. Continue reading

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LOSING SIGHT OF THE MISSION

This right-wing patriotism seems to detract Christians from the real mission of Jesus’ followers. Jesus never once intimated nationalism as a kingdom value (unless one argues for his priority of Israel in God’s program up to his generation). Where does America’s manifest destiny appear in Scriptures?

Jesus did not instruct his disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel. Then gather the believers into one nation and erect high ideological walls that prevent usurpers from disrupting your comfortable religiosity – and prosperity.” Continue reading

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RAISING OUR RELEVANCE QUOTIENT

Should the Church become culturally relevant? This question gets kicked around by Christians. The negative side fears absorption into the world and apostasy from the faith. The positive side fears society’s disregard and the attrition of the Church’s mission.

The current economic crisis has laid cultural relevancy at the Church’s door. Throughout history, the Church has had a reputation for compassion and generosity. Christians took an active interest in the affairs of their communities, particularly in humanitarian causes. Continue reading

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WINSOME PERSUASION

Rosaria explains that the only exposure she had with Christians were from “students who refused to read papers on the grounds that knowing Jesus meant never needing to know anything else, people who sent her hate mail, or people who carried signs at Gay Pride marches, which read, ‘God hates fags.’” She had formulated the opinion that “Christians always seemed like bad thinkers” as well as “bad readers.” She concluded that Christians maintain their worldview only because they are unwilling to engage the complex problems of the world like poverty and violence. When Christians became uncomfortable in discourse it seemed to her that they resorted to their mantra, “the Bible says,” not to deepen the conversation, but in the hope of ending it. Continue reading

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SEXUALITY AND PERSONHOOD

Academic freedom? Intellectual pursuit? Scholastic investigation? Advancement of knowledge? Do these labels apply to the controversial class demonstration at Northwestern University. Psychology professor, J. Michael Bailey, contends that they do.

Bailey teaches a class on human sexuality. On Feb. 21, he invited a guest lecturer, Ken Melvoin-Berg, co-owner of Weird Chicago, to discuss bondage and sexual fetishes. The subject remains consistent with the purview of Bailey’s class material. Bailey titled the class Networking for Kinky People. Continue reading

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STRATEGIES FOR CHANGING CULTURE

In his book, To Change the World, James Davison Hunter asserts that many Christians have adopted a false theory for social change, believing that the majority belief determines the social norm. Therefore, change occurs when a majority adopts a belief that differs from the existing norm. The LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture, and Social Theory at the University of Virginia argues that this faulty theory has led Christians to invest a large amount of energy in resources and strategies to effect cultural change that prove ineffective. Continue reading

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AN UNLIKELY OSCAR VOTER

When the votes are counted for the Oscars this year, one vote will come from a most unlikely source. Mother Dolores resides at the Abbey of Regina Loudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She was reinstated with voting rights as a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990, allowing her to vote for the Academy awards each year. Continue reading

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