Thursday, 20 January 2011

Gabe Lyons on Being Countercultural

Q Ideas has a short piece by Gabe Lyons on being countercultural – ‘What does being countercultural look like?’

When it comes to how Christians relate to culture, he notes the options of separatism (condemnation and retreat in the hopes for self-preservation, but failing to realise that cultural separation is impossible), antagonism (the decision to fight almost everything culture promotes, but rarely offering alternatives that promote a better way of life), and relevance (copying culture in the hope that people will perceive us as ‘cool’ and give us a hearing, but removing the church from a prophetic role in society in the process).

An alternative to these, he says, is to be countercutural:

‘The next generation of Christians aren’t separatists, antagonists, or striving to be “relevant.” Instead, they are countercultural as they advance the common good in society. The next Christians see themselves as salt, preserving agents actively working for restoration in the middle of a decaying culture. They attach themselves to people and structures that are in danger of rotting while availing themselves to Christ’s redeeming power to do work through them. They understand that by being restorers they fight against the cultural norms and often flow counter to the cultural tide. But they feel that, as Christians, they’ve been called to partner with God in restoring and renewing everything they see falling apart.’

The phrase ‘the next Christians’ is a not-too-veiled reference to Gabe Lyons’ most recent book – The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America (New York: Doubleday, 2010) – which explores these issues more fully.

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