Engaging Culture

I read something very interesting: Next to Christmas, more money is spent on Halloween than on any other holiday event. Halloween?!? Wow! We’re in the midst of planning our church’s role on Halloween night, so I’ve been thinking quite a bit about engaging our culture.

It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

So here’s how I think followers of Jesus Christ should light a candle to engage culture:

(1) Have the right motivation. In Jesus’ inaugural sermon, He said He was coming to preach the Good News about God’s love. He purposely left out the part of Isaiah’s prophesy that talked about God’s coming judgment. There will be a time for that, but for now, our motivation should be to make known the favor of the Lord.

(2) Get out of your box. If you only hang around with Christians, your ability to effectively engage culture will be diminished. If you never get around others, it’s sort of like salt that sits in the saltshaker too long. Paul told the Athenians that he had been walking around their city looking at their culture.

(3) Listen. As Paul talked to the Athenians, he quoted their poets to them. He knew what they were listening to because he was listening too. What are people watching on TV? What movies are they talking about? What music are they listening to? You can find the key to their heart by knowing something about what interests them.

(4) Collaborate. There are lots of other faith-based organizations, non-government organizations, and churches that are already active in your community. Join forces with them.

(5) Just be there. Go to local restaurants, cheer on the local sports teams, join a rec league team, attend the city council meetings, volunteer at a shelter or food pantry. Just be there! After a while, people will begin to ask you why you are so involved, and you’ll have a great platform to speak to them.

It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

Are you engaging your culture? It’s time to go shine!

5 Responses to “Engaging Culture”

  1. Frank Pray Says:

    Hello Craig.

    Last night i “engaged the culture” by attending a lecture on stem cell research offered by the “Distinctive Voices” forum at University of California, Irvine (UCI). I then wrote a fictional piece that captured the main points of the science, but also addressed the moral question of creating and destroying human life to harvest pluripotent stem cells. There are now alternatives to that use of embryos obtained by in vitro fertilization. I’m trying to get my writing out to a larger audience through the internet, and so have a larger impact for the Kingdom.

    BTW, the article is on my new blogsite: http://frankswriting.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-life-as-pluripotent-stem-cell.html

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    • Craig T. Owens Says:

      Well done, Frank! I read the blog post earlier this morning, and found it very creative. Keep on shining!

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      • Frank Pray Says:

        Thanks for the encouragement Craig. Yes, I will keep on. You too my brother. I think your posts take it a “step above” a lot of the writing out there. Is there a book in the womb?

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        • Craig T. Owens Says:

          You are very kind, Frank! I enjoy sharing a few thoughts here and, prayerfully, stimulating other people to think differently. I do have a couple of book ideas in the “crockpot” doing a slow cook. Not sure when God will bring these about, but it will be so exciting when that happens.

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  2. Stephanie Vazquez Says:

    Actually, I think churches can be very beneficial in engaging the holidays–even Halloween. We do not have to indulge into the actual root of where the holiday originated as most Americans at least just view Halloween as dressing up and eating candy. If we start ‘originating’ everything then we would have to throw away our Christmas trees as they were actually worshiped in bygone days, and don’t get me started on the Easter Bunny–he was derived from a sex goddess. So my point is, we live in an evil world so lets make the best of it and like Pastor Craig says, bring the ‘Light to others’ through our now ‘modern’ fun holidays and always give the Glory to God that He can make what was once evil a tool to reach others for Christ.

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