For most people, understanding our place in culture isn’t much of an issue, but for the church it seems that it is really a hard thing to grasp. There are many different views that are expressed on this issue, but many of them are presented in a way that makes the Church and Christians go into a form of alienation in regards to culture and their place in it. So how should we view our place in culture? How can we understand our place in culture and still have a solid faith in Christ? I think that the bible has the simple answer that we may forget about or neglect to think about. It says that we are called be in the world but not of the world. That means that we don’t have to alienate ourselves from “non Christians”, or form a sort of bunker that will protect us and separate us from the culture that is all around us.
We can see that this concept is one that we see in the life and ministry of Jesus. There was never a time (that I know of) when Jesus alienated himself or stayed away from people because they weren’t Christians or didn’t go to church or liked to have a drink at a neighbourhood BBQ. He always took time for these people, but I like what Walt writes to also go along with this thought, he says, “Even though Jesus spent time with sinners, he didn’t adopt their unbiblical beliefs and behaviour” (pg.138). We can’t become of the world in our attempts to live in the world.
I like this paragraph that Walt writes, it states:
Jesus’ prayer of John 17 makes it clear that we have been given to him by the father out of the world. While we no longer belong to the world, we are to continue living in the world. As we live in the world, our charge is to be the hands and feet of Jesus – his presence –carrying on his mission.
Jesus said that we are to be salt to the earth. “As salt of the earth in today’s world, we function as god’s people of the new covenant, united with him and representing him by being a transforming presence that brings life where there is death, and seasoning where there is no flavour. To do so, we must be in the world. But if we become of the world, our saltiness is gone and we are no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (pg.151)