Disciples are light.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." (Matthew 5:14-15)

I might be taking a giant leap here, but like yesterday's post, I think this passage has a great deal to do with culture, and specifically how followers of Christ interact with culture. It could be that I'm just in that frame of mind because of the combination of my good friend Justin Bower's teachings at Common-Cup and the recent trip at Alive, but I think that this is a bigger issue than any of us realize. How do Christians interact with culture in a healthy and responsible way?

What we tend to do seems to be exactly what Jesus warns us not to do in this passage. We have an incredibly well lit lamp in some places (not so much in others...). There are Christian bands that are making a tremendous amount of great music (Jars of Clay, Mute Math, David Crowder Band, Switchfoot, Relient K, Skillet, Needtobreath, Grungor, and Family Force 5 just to name a few), but what we tend to do is keep them entirely to ourselves in some kind of Christian sub-culture. Now a lot of these bands are getting with the program and touring with "secular" bands, but I think there's still an atmosphere of exclusion in the Christian sub-culture. We want to keep it to ourselves and our culture safe from the world "out there." We light the lamp, but then we put it under the basket of the Christian bubble.

A couple of thoughts. If you scan the scriptures, you will never see the word "Christian" used as an adjective. If we hold true that truth comes from the scriptures, and that we are meant to guide our lives by it, I don't think we should use it as an adjective. What makes a band Christian? What makes a book Christian? If I write a song that doesn't mention Jesus, yet I'm a Christian, does that make it a Christian song? If it's not a Christian t-shirt, does that mean it's worthless and unredeemable? Because another word that won't show up in the scriptures is "secular," and I think that means something for us today.

How has your walk with Christ impacted the culture at large? Would the world actually know you're different by simply examining you, or would they only see the part of your faith that you let out in the world, reserving the rest for our Christian festivals? Is your light shinning, or do you have it under a basket?

If you made it through the whole post without humming "This little light of mine," +5 cool points.

More later,



Ian Gallo said...

amen! we have kinda talked about this a lot and this just about sums it all up.

Anonymous said...

yay! i get cool points! wait, can i still get them if it was only playing in my head and left unhummed?