July 22, 2022 Malcolm Lithgow

Cultural Engagement

Cultural Engagement

The idea of "Cultural Engagement" is increasingly important for Christians to grapple with because our culture--our practices, beliefs, and way of life--is increasingly diverging from the culture of the society that we live in.

While it is tempting to simply follow society's cues, we have a higher calling which is powerfully presented in the Bible, God's Word to us. We are called to build our culture on that foundation, not on the shifting sands of our culture's current mores and preferences.

But we must not let that increasing difference alienate us from the surrounding people, and so intentional and intelligent engagement becomes an increasingly important skill and topic to explore.

But the skills of Cultural Engagement do not come naturally, as a glance at discussions online or in the media amply demonstrate. In the first half of 2022 we at Renew dedicated our Tuesday nights to studying how to best engage with people across this widening cultural divide. Here are some more resources on that same issue.

We worked through a course by Professor Darrell Bock, and in this Think Biblically podcast, Scott Rae and Sean McDowell of Biola discuss with Darrell his new book on the topic, Cultural Intelligence. Perhaps the key takeaway of Bock's work is that tone and content are equally important.

If we don't have the right content, we won't communicate anything useful. That's pretty obvious, right? But, equally, if we don't have the right tone, the message won't get through, no matter how eloquent our explanations. Poor tone guarantees that the people we are speaking to will not be our listeners, but rather our ignorers.

Cultural engagement is a complex, subtle skill, needing as much practice, encouragement, and training as possible. Another resource for improving our engagement is The Table podcast. This podcast focuses on "topics related to God, Christianity, and cultural engagement," and is a great listen for those long drives, hanging out the clothes, or whenever you have time with your mind free.