One of the greatest challenges of the Christian faith is how it interfaces with culture. An interface is defined as a point where two things meet and interact.
I have tried to look beyond the current struggles taking place at this moment in time and imagine how history will be written regarding the Church and its interface with our culture on a wide variety of issues. While the basic elements of our faith are the same as those in the first century, the context is very different. Our first-century brothers and sisters were born into and lived under two forms of oppression – religious and political oppression, both of which opposed the message of Jesus Christ.
We live in a generation where freedom remains intact because a brave believer refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus. Others chose to march for human dignity in the face of imposing brutality. A parent spoke out at a school board meeting under the threat of arrest voicing their opinion regarding a curriculum the parent felt was unhealthy for their child. These freedoms of expression were unheard of in the first century. How we handle that freedom in this season will write our history.
When we approach a place where our faith interfaces with culture and its institutions, we will hopefully bring to that engagement a developed character and a sincere love for those with whom we interface. This is where a great challenge takes place because anger and frustration can defeat the sincerest saints of God. So can a naive dismissal of reality. How we step into an interface with culture and conduct Kingdom business is where the mettle of our faith is tested.
The Kingdom of God advances in the interface. This interface has become the stadium where our faith is played out for the world to see. It is a place where brave souls enter and speak the truth in love to a culture at the risk of existing relationships, and in some cases at the expense of life and treasure. A tamed Church will fear to tread on this sacred ground and become static preaching a Que Sera Sera version of the Gospel. An overly aggressive Church fueled by unrestrained human emotion will do great damage not caring for those at the other end of their exercise of freedom. Either extreme stumbles the message of Christ.
Walking between these two extremes requires the wisdom of God’s Spirit. This is not an uninformed stroll that moves us past injustice without taking notice or a whistling walk of fear as we pass by the graveyard of culture at night. It is a chosen place where we allow ourselves to be directed under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If we choose to walk in that way we will receive shouts of disapproval from both sides of an issue because our posture of faith will demonstrate we are living to please the Lord, not the demands of people whether those demands come from within the ranks of the Church or the culture.