In the Culture, Not of the Culture - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Humanities and Liberal Arts
September 17, 2016

In the Culture, Not of the Culture

How do Christians engage with the culture in a way that is loving while maintaining purity? It’s a tough question that Christians don’t always get right. If we move too far toward love so that our principles get a little mushy, we’re in danger of “dumbing down” the faith. If we demand purity of faith too strictly, beyond what Jesus commands, we can become legalistic and lose the winsomeness we should exhibit to the world. This tension is routinely evident in churches and in the everyday behavior of Christians.

But just because it is tough, doesn’t mean Christians shouldn’t try to find the right balance. Host and producer of MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, Ken Myers believes that culture, especially high culture, is an area in which Christians should be very active. “I’ve always thought that beautiful art was a great apologetic resource,” Myers says. “Beauty points to a Creator.” But he’s concerned that American Christians have ceded the cultural landscape to mainstream entertainment and even adopted many of their practices in the church. The church “capitulates more and more to the culture of entertainment,” Myers explains.

Myers, a former NPR producer and magazine editor, insists on preserving cultural treasures that grow out of faith inspired by God. He reminds us that Christians need to acquire a holistic understanding of culture in order to be relevant forces in the world for Christ. “If Christians are going to engage with culture, it behooves us best to be as informed as possible,” Myers says.

Myers’ voice is one that challenges us to be involved not only in our churches but in the cultural life of our communities and country. “Perhaps what is needed most of all is a willingness to be out of synch (in the right ways) with the cultural status quo,” he says.

Our progenitors in the faith did not shy away from culture; they engaged and shaped culture by creating good, true, beautiful (and timeless) treasures for the glory of God. Where are our classic cultural treasures coming from today? Are we out of balance? Maybe we need to re-calibrate on being in the culture, but not of the culture.

If you want to hear more from Ken Myers, you have two opportunities to hear him speak live. He will be the featured speaker as Geneva College inaugurates new president Calvin L. Troup on September 23 in Beaver Falls at the 10 a.m. ceremony. He will also give a talk in Geneva’s West Reading Room on the afternoon of Friday, September 23 at 3 p.m.  In honor of his speaking appearance at the Geneva College inauguration, Myers’ team has also offered the Geneva College community exclusive, streaming audio content from his MARS HILL AUDIO Journal program – four classic interviews with insightful guests: