The debate has always raged in the Christian community about what our involvement in the world should look like. Some seem to think the world a dangerous place and our best hope of survival is to retreat from it, keep our children safe, and wait for the new heavens and new earth. Others seem to think we should charge recklessly into the world, and become like the world in order to save it. Thus, some of us are more eager to shelter our children and others more eager to expose them to the world. Even in a healthy church family opinions differ. My wife and I have forever had discussions about equipping our children for life in the world and we have often disagreed about what that looked like and at what age we turned them loose.
The world and the culture we live in is a dangerous place, not because it looks so bad, but because it looks so good. Sin always looks attractive and, by most accounts, offers short term pleasures. What advertisers don’t show you is the long term consequences. Sex sells, so lets get all we can. You deserve this or that consumer gadget because you owe it to yourself. We see little, however, of the consequences and the dead bodies that abound because of living only in the moment.
Christianity on the other hand seems to suggest that there is always short term denial and often pain, but long term consequences of joy and thriving. What is our stance in this crazy culture we live in? This week we will engage that discussion because Paul tells us flat out to, “walk towards outsiders.” Our posture is towards the world and the culture, to enter it with a new kind of vision of what it means to be human, a new vision of pleasure, a new vision of marriage, a new vision that all abundant life begins with death to self and a life laid down.
But the difficult part is what he says is necessary to live a wise, salty, well-seasoned life. We’ll talk about it Sunday.