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This blog post is part of the series from the Spiritual Formation team walking through The Anatomy of a Disciple. This post will give you a brief snapshot of what it means to be Culturally Engaged.
Why is it that we are called to live intentionally with the world around us? Wouldn't it be so much easier to live a Christian life with other believers in our Church? It seems as though Jesus is constantly calling us to a life that engages with the culture around us. And it's true he does, and that's because he did the same thing with his time here on Earth. So much of Jesus' time was spent with non believers and people of a shady background. Christ is the example of what it looks like to not only to be light in the world but to dive into the culture. As disciples of Christ this is what Jesus asks of us.
As we look through scripture we see over and over how Jesus engaged with culture. We see him have dinner with tax collectors (Luke 19:2-7), engage in conversation with an adulteress (John 4:7-26), and pharisees (Luke 7:36-39). These examples are challenging as we look at our own lives and think about how we are engaging culture in our circles. We also see that as Jesus engages the culture he never forsakes the gospel for the sake of culture (Matt 9:10-13).
As a church it is so important for us to hold on tight to the truth of the gospel and then bring that truth into the world (Matt 5:13-14). How can we be a light to the world if we don't even understand the world around us? You see as followers of Christ he calls us to the gospel (loving our Lord), the church (loving our brother), and the culture (loving our neighbor). We must be careful to hold all of these in balance knowing that our tendency is to over emphasis one or more of them.
I would challenge you to think how you can be culturally engaged. Where are your circles of influence that are not necessarily Christian? Do you have any non Christian relationships in your life right now? How, are we going to start living the gospel in the world around us. We are not called to sit back and watch the world around us die out but instead step in and see how God will use us.