Engaging Culture part 1

How should we relate to our culture?

This is a subject that comes up regularly in the church as well as in conversations with parents.

Since our culture does not espouse the same values we do, and in many instances is opposed to our values, how should we relate? What should we allow our children to be involved in?

When we think about this subject it is not just about moral values, but philosophical or thought processes as well. And it appears to me that there are at least 5 reactions or responses:

1. Ignore–it’s just a fad, it will go away
2. Fight–it’s evil, let’s try to push back the philosophical time clock
3. Acquiesce–it’s the way it is, let’s make the best of it
4. Accept–it’s the way it should be
5. Engage–it’s here, let’s interact, learn and make a difference

Put another way:

I thing some people see culture as intimidating and so they seek isolation. They fear the affects of culture on themselves and their children, so they seek to create an isolated environment to protect their children. And while there may be some things we need to protect our children from (like sinful behavior), is isolation the best solution?

Others are not fearful, but definitely weary of the affects of culture so they seek to instruct their children so as to provide insulation from the affects of the world around them. This is how I often thought of my role as a parent. To instruct my boys in the way they should go–not fearing the world, but trying to prepare them to not be affected by the world.

Now that our boys are older, I think there is another approach. Rather than isolation or simply insulation I want my sons to be influencers. This requires intentionality–intentionally influences others. Rather than the reactive approach–insulate them so they will not be affected by the world. I want to be proactive–help them intentionally influence those around them.

There may be a place or a time for each of these three approaches. But I think the last is the ultimate goal. Too often we seek isolation simply for our own benefit and forget that we have been place here to be witnesses (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). When we simply seek to instruct for insulation we again forget that God as called us as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). The intentionality I am speaking of means that we (and our children) need to evaluate the use our time, money, and energy to determine how best to invest our influence. This may require choosing not to do certain things (even isolating from certain activities) in order to do better things.

In the next post we look at ways that we and our children might be intentional influencers.

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

5 Comments on “Engaging Culture part 1

  1. You go Steve! I like the concept of Influencers…being a world changer vs. a pew sitter…being a thermostat vs. a thermometer…being a spark plug vs. well i ran out of analogies.

    spread the word!

  2. Perhaps a quote from CS Lewis is useful: “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

  3. “As your boys grow older – your approach has changed”
    We tend to want to protect our kids from the world and its influences. In my case as a grandmother
    “Intentionality influences others” My time, money & energy are important factors and always needs evaluation. Our witness for Christ is what will count for eternity – Thanks for your insight as a parent. And thanks for your faithfulness as a teacher of God’s Word.
    Thanks! Pat

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