In our Engaging Culture and Finding God series we have established (at least in my mind) that we should participate in, rather than attempt to retreat from, culture. And yet we arenâ??t supposed to blend in with the rest of the world, right? I am excited to be wrapping up our series with a look at how we are set apart from those we engage with: a distinctly Christian faith, a distinctly Christian hope, and a distinctly Christian love. This past week we began with a discussion of what it means to have a distinctly Christian faith.
First and foremost, I do not believe that faith is exclusive to the Church. It seems to me that every person, at one point or another, possesses a strong faith in something. Whether that is in a god or that there is no god, science or philosophy, drugs or physical fitness, is irrelevant. Faith is part of the human experience, which leads me to believe that it is a characteristic God instilled in us, probably knowing that to make it through this topsy-turvy life we would need the ability to trust and believe in something.
So what about a distinctly Christian faith? The Nicene Creed does a universally-recognized good job at encapsulating what we believe. Our faith is in God and his redemptive work through Jesus Christ. In fact, our faith is authored and perfected by Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), further distinguishing the Christian faith. Perhaps most importantly, our faith is credited to us as righteousness in the eyes of God, allowing us to live in relationship with God now and forever.
For the media portion of our discussion we listened to the song â??Come, Lord Jesusâ?? by Andrew Peterson. You can find the lyrics on Petersonâ??s website here, although I feel it is worth the 99 cents to download it from iTunes. The song, at its core, is the juxtaposition of two completely opposite interpretations of the Christian faith. In the first verse we find a distinct but despicable expression of what some feel is Christianity. In the third verse Peterson outlines an authentic and redemptive look at the God in whom we trust. In the middle verse we find the songwriter struggling, as we all do, with his own shortcomings amid the despicable and the redemptive.
Like the group Peterson writes about in his first verse, too often we depend on clever t-shirts, bumper stickers, and picket signs (rather than our Christian faith, hope, and love) to distinguish us from the culture in which we live. I encourage you to reflect on what a distinctly Christian faith means to you as you engage culture.