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Engageing Culture

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1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ENGAGE

Introduction

The chasuble (chaz-yuh-buh l)

Did you know the earliest Christians wore a uniform? It was not plaid. Rather, the chasuble, a hooded cloak made of woolen material, was the common garment of the first-century disciples. In the Roman world common folk, laborers, and slaves wore chasubles as a fits-any-purpose, takes-any-abuse overall that would stand up to grime, labor, and weather. No ruler or Roman professional would be caught dead in a chasuble. So when Christians of all classes adopted the chasuble as their daily wear they were making more than a fashion statement. They were repudiating the finery of the world and revoking the distinctions of class, rank, and influence to identify with the most common and least influential.

The chasuble became so identified with the church that when customs changed churchmen continued to wear the garment but not always for the same purpose. In the Middle Ages, as the power and influence of the church grew, the chasuble changed. The cloak of poor monks became the robe of rich clerics. Wool yielded to linen and silk. Drab colors that would hide grime eroded into brilliant hues to display wealth. Jewels and gold braid on chasubles worn by those of highest rank replaced crude patches and raveled hems. What once identified with the common man now distinguished the most influential.

The Story of the chasuble is the story of Christians and culture.  We often engage the world around us with love and compassion, only to take those older ways of engagement and turn them into at best traditions, at worst idols, that end up distancing us from the culture we once tried to engage.

We did it with the chasuble.  We’ve done it with music.  It happens with buildings.

The Grandparent’s Dilemma

This puts every grandparent in a pickle.

? What is every grandparent’s pride?

  • Their big house?
  • Their nice car?
  • Their retirement account?

No – the pride of a grandparent is their grandchildren.

When it comes to our engagement of culture, there is a day when every person must decide who they will vote for. 

Will they vote for their traditions, or will they vote for their children?

1.  What is Culture?

p     “culture” is a set of shared practices, attitudes, values, and beliefs which are rooted in common understandings of 'the big questions'--where life comes from, what life means, who we are, and what is important to spend our time doing in the years allotted to us.

n      the way we treat the material world,

n      the way we relate the individual to the group and family,

n      the way groups and classes relate to one another,

n      the way we handle sex, money, and power,

n      the way we make decisions and set priorities, and the way we regard death, time, art, government, and physical space.

2.  There is Power in Cultural Metaphors

·         Paul on Mars Hill

Acts 17:22-31       "Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

·         Mentions the alter to an unknown God

·         Commends how spiritual they are

·         Quotes Epicurean and Stoic philosophers

·         What is the Areopagus of today????

a.       video, sports, television, magazine, celebrities

b.      cultural trends

c.       others

This is changing quickly!


In his book, The Post-Capitalist Society, Peter Drucker says: "Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself. Fifty years later, there is a new world. And the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their parents were born. We are currently living through just such a transition."

question 1 - why use POP culture?

A.  three kinds of culture

p     BACH (High Culture)

n      Gourmet Meal

n      Stresses the Majesty and Royalty of Jesus

n      2 Timothy 2:8

n      “Jubal Factor” (Gen 4:21) – Beethoven, Wagner

p     BUBBA (Folk Culture)

n      Family Recipe

n      Jesus worshipped at Synagogues

n      This is music of the people by the people, for the people

p     BLUES BROTHERS (Pop Culture)

n      Drive Through Burgers, Pizza Delivery

n      Chuck Berry, “I was trying to shoot for the whole population instead of just … shall we say the neighborhood.”

n      Pop Culture is a tool for cultural transformation

 B.  How to Engage Culture

Reinhold Niebuhr’s 5 Types

C.  ILL of Koine Greek

p     The New Testament is not written in the Hebrew of Israel’s deepest roots.

p     The New Testament is not written in the classic Greek of Homer, Plato & Aristotle.

p     The New Testament chose “common” Greek, used in novels, bills, receipts and graffiti.

p     Eugene Peterson, “Nothing is more socializing than common language; nothing is more clique forming than jargon.”

D.  Does Pop Culture Minimize the Gospel?

p     Does the simple song “Amazing Grace” minimize the truth of the Gospel?

p     Does the simple language of the Gospel of John water down the truth of the Gospel?

p     The example of Eric Clapton

n      Studied Mississippi Delta Blues, greats like Sun House and Robert Johnson.  Clapton put the greats inside himself, then he became “present” to his audience.  He didn’t try so much to bring his audience back to Sun House, but to bring Sun House to his audience.

Question 2 How to Use Pop Culture

“I don’t have time to be missional”

-This isn’t something added

- Its how you do what you do

ILL – I don’t have time to lower my cholesterol

            You don’t add extra activities

            You just choose wisely when you engage in activities – Eat Cheerios

A.  Missional VEN DIAGRAM

B.  Define Target

p     Seattle is now one of the 15 largest markets in America

p     Between 1990-2000, 230,000 people moved in

p     50,000 LESS in King County (that means they are moving out here)

p     Lynwood Growth Rate: 14% (from 1990-2000)

p     Bothell Growth Rate: 25%

p     Mill Creek Growth Rate: 50%

p     Major influx of people are between 25-34

p     Creative Class, interested in culture, arts, technology

p     Among the Least Charitable Cities, 1.9% gross income is given (highest is Utah at 4.9%)

p     Lynnwood

p     Average Age: 36 (Seattle is 38)

p     74% are married

p     33% of the kids are age 6-11 (Children’s Ministry)

p     33% of the kids are 12-18 (youth group)

Question 3 What Does this Look Like?

1) Pop Culture references in sermons

2) Jeremiah 29:4-7       "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”" (Jeremiah 29:4-7, NIV)

·         Love the city

a.       Love the city’s poor

b.      Pray for the city’s leaders and its struggles

·         Settle down (most over priced city to settle into)

·         be a stake-holder in the city

·         be a city within the city

2 Objections

#1 What about me?  How will I grow?

ILL – How I got A’s in seminary: by tutoring

            I learned it best by teaching it!

#2 is This Worldly?

David Wells defines worldliness like this: “that system of values, in any given age, which has at its center our fallen human perspective, which displaces God and his truth from the world, and which makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange. It thus gives great plausibility to what is morally wrong and, for that reason, makes what is wrong seem normal” (Losing our Virtue, 4).

Conclusion

Will we choose our grandchildren?

Or will we choose our traditions?

 

Reaching Out, Looking Up is about choosing our grandchildren.

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