The Family, The Church, and Culture
In my initial readings for my class Psychology and Theology of Marriage and Family, I came across this quote: Mary Pipher says, "It became clearer to me that if families just let the culture happen to them, they end up fat, addicted, broke, with a house full of junk, and no time." Robert Bly says that contemporary society has left us with spiritual flatness, with the talk show replacing the family, the internet instead of art, and the mall instead of community. (From the book The Expanded Family Life Cycle) I have seriously thought about this over the past 24 hours, and I have come to the conclusion that it is a very accurate picture, not only of the family, but of the modern church. The modern church has become a reactionary entity, speaking up when the latest fad, attack on the faith, or church movement stands up and gets noticed. The church has become primarily defensive in its outreach to society. If we, the church, are going to be successfully obedient to the command of the Bible to redeem the time, we've got to change this. "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:4-6)" Certainly, this verse speaks of apologetic, or "defensive" action, but apologetics is not entirely a reactionary endeavor. Apologetics takes charge, takes the offense. Apologetics offers reasons to believe that our faith is true. But even today apologetics has become almost purely reactionary. We need our pastors to start teaching the truth of the Bible preemptively. We must teach our congregations to live by Biblical truth, and that if anything contradicts that truth it must be rejected. We cannot be content to wait until someone tells them something that confuses them to preach Biblical truth for living. We cannot wait until the next attack on the faith arrives. "Walking in wisdom" demands it.