- Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons - http://ericsammons.com/blog -
Are you counter-cultural?
Posted By Eric Sammons On January 28, 2010 @ 6:15 am In Evangelization | Comments Disabled
One of the biggest challenges in Christian living is navigating our relationship with the world. When is it harmless to accommodate to the world, and when must we reject it? Our Lord in the Gospels tells us,
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Our lives must stand out from the rest of the world; how we live must distinguish us and make us lights to the non-Christian world. How this has been implemented has varied through the ages. In the 6th century, St. Benedict separated himself completely from the (disintegrating) world and formed a new society in the monastery. In the 13th century, Sts. Francis and Dominic retained much of a monk’s separation, yet also entered into the world more directly in order to preach to it. In the 20th century, St. Josemaria Escriva encouraged Christians to remain in the world and to redeem it from within.
Each of these ways of relating to the world are valid, and some are more appropriate than others depending on the culture in which one lives. The more a culture is filled with Christian values, the less counter-cultural one must be. But today we live in a post-Christian world, and the only option for Christians serious about following Christ is to be at least somewhat counter-cultural.
What I fear, however, is that too many Christians have become indistinguishable in their lives from their non-Christian peers. The Gospel should change how we live in ways both large and small. Every decision we make should be made in light of the Gospel’s demands on our life.
Furthermore, living a changed life has tremendous evangelistic consequences. By letting the Gospel impact your life deeply, you are modeling not a perfect life, but a superior ideal. It is, after all, the “Good News”. If you live the Gospel seriously, then, when your neighbor realizes the emptiness and shallowness of a worldly life, he will look to your joyful Gospel living as something attractive. But if you live just like your neighbor, why would he look to you as a model?
Here are some practical ways to see if you are living a life that stands out to your neighbor:
How do you decide how many kids you will have? Is it based solely on monetary concerns? Is it influenced by how many kids other people have?
2) Television and Movies
What do you watch on television and in the movies? Does it uplift your soul or at least teach something valuable about the human condition? Is it pure?
What type of house do you live in? Is it the biggest, most expensive one you can (supposedly) afford?
What type of car do you drive? Does it reflect an embrace of Gospel poverty?
How do you educate your children? Is the emphasis on Christian formation or simply academic achievement?
6) Charitable Giving
What charities do you support with your tithe? How much do you tithe?
How do you spend your entertainment dollars? Do you go into debt just so you can take the kids to Disneyworld?
How do you vote? Is your vote based primarily on self-centered pocketbook issues, or do you also consider moral issues such as abortion and help for the poor?
How do you look at our celebrity culture? Do you put “stars” on a pedestal who are terrible examples for our youth (and us)?
What books do you read? Do you read books only for mindless entertainment, or do you look to expand your knowledge of the world and our Faith?
The point isn’t to be counter-cultural simply to be different. Instead, simply be counter-cultural because our culture is rotting at the core, and the Gospel is the means to save it. We just need to demonstrate this truth to the world by our lives.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/01/28/are-you-counter-cultural/
URLs in this post:
 subscribe to my RSS feed: http://ericsammons.com/blog/feed/
Copyright © 2010 Divine Life - A Blog by Eric Sammons. All rights reserved.