Relevance and the Church…
Churches (and people within) chase it, always looking for how Scripture fits into the culture, or how it speaks to this topic or that topic, or in what seems like increasing measure, how Scripture can be modified to make it relevant.
All missing the mark.
Scripture is always relevant, even if it doesn’t specifically address this issue or that issue.
We have no examples in Scripture of it molding us to fit into the culture around us, and if anything, we have a multitude of examples of how it transforms us into being counter-cultural. All of the apostles, and nearly all of the early church, experienced opposition at the hands of the cultures in which they lived or preached in. Almost all of the apostles suffered and were killed by those of the cultures around them. Jesus himself was crucified.
We are, however, called to be transformed. Just not in the way some churches or people seek:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2, NIV
That transformation moves us away from the culture, not toward it, and certainly not making us indistinguishable from it. How can we be ‘light of the world’ it we are not contrasted to the world around us? How can be be ‘salt of the earth’ if we’re as ordinary as everything around us?
Simply put: we can’t.
But it’s not some unattainable goal either. I love how The Message paraphrase puts this same section of Scripture:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. (Romans 12:1-2 (in part), MSG)
Our everyday, ordinary, not-well-adjusted life…transformation takes place there, and has its greatest affect there.
Don’t worry about the culture…it has its own problems. Don’t feel like you have to fit in, or have to change your beliefs because of it. Be changed. Be different.
Relevance. Churches (and people within) chase it, always looking for how Scripture fits into the culture, or how it speaks to this topic or that topic, or in what seems like increasing measure, how Scripture can be modified to make it relevant. All missing the mark. Scripture is always relevant, even if it doesn’t specifically…