Five Things the Counter-Cultural Church Has to Offer the World.
We believe that God has called the church to be a potent counter-culture, one that is neither relieved when it has something in common with the world’s culture, nor alarmed when it is starkly different from the culture surrounding it.
What Does a Counter Cultural Church Look Like?
When the church is counter-cultural it is neither for or against the prevailing culture: it is simply a winsome and compelling alternative to that culture.
Five Gifts to the World from a Counter-Cultural Church
Following are five things that the church has to offer the world if it is truly in the position of being counter-cultural.
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.- Psalm 127:3-5
As Aaron Renn has pointed out in his “Masculinist” emails, the church needs to do a better job of preaching what it practices. Our biblical convictions lead to some beautiful families. Families where the children are healthy, where the men are strong in the way of men, and the women strong in the way of women.
But we have been so fearful of marginalizing single people and broken families within the church that we have actually downplayed one of the things about the church that makes us the most counter-culturally valuable. There is a real hunger in the world for the sort of stability and beauty of the sort of families that are on prominent display in the church.
As our culture’s sense of humor veers further and further in the direction of the ironic and the absurd, the church’s counter-culture provides a lovely alternative. The humor of a biblical culture is, perhaps, best described as mirth. It’s simple humor, the froth skimmed off of joy’s overflowing cup. It might be wry, but it’s never at anyone’s expense.
I’m much more likely to laugh at church without having heard a joke than I am to laugh while scrolling through Twitter, reading “joke” after “joke.”
And you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons...- Deutronomy 30:2
This is, perhaps, the other side of mirth’s coin. Living as we do in an age of irony people are largely deprived of real mirth on the one hand, and of real earnestness on the other. To be earnest, heartfelt, and passionate is to open yourself up to the sniping of our culture’s ironic “cool kids.” But there is a human need for earnestness. Regarding the nourishment of our souls, irony is nothing but empty calories. Earnestness is bread a meat.
And if there is one place in our world where you can expect to get a healthy dose of the earnest each week it is church.
4. The Bible
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. -Psalm 119:28
The sharp and dynamic word of God is something that the church has to offer, so long as we are prepared to be counter-cultural. The world needs it. Let it be ever on our tongues and ringing from our pulpits.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.- Ephesians 2:8-9
Our culture is remarkably graceless. It can be very permissive and it can be extremely unforgiving, but grace? Absent. And people are hungry for it. The church is never so counter-cultural as when it is full of people who, having been objects of grace, are energetically agents of that grace.
During his life, Jesus set an example of consistently serving, blessing, healing, and teaching those around him. He lived a counter-cultural life by being different from those around him by loving them. However, he also was obedient to the rules of his government.
Jesus sent an example of living in the world, while living for His. We are called to do the same today.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog