JOYFUL ENGAGEMENT IS OUR INTERACTION WITH SECULAR CULTURE
Among the oldest questions for people of faith is how to think about engaging with the culture around us. This is a primary question of the Hebrew Bible, where the answer largely is to avoid being infected by the evils of surrounding cultures. Protestant holiness movements have also emphasized the “be separate” ethos (the Amish perhaps are the most stark picture of this). Culture, in this view, is only corrupting. It must be resisted and opposed. “Appeasing” it is considered a great evil. However, in Jesus, rather than fearing infection by even small contact with the cultures around us, it will now be just the reverse—small contacts will bring his divine essence into these interactions.
So we joyfully engage culture, knowing that where there are people there is the image and love of God! In addition, culture often “gets there first” in terms of deep, godly insights, as has often been true not only in the arts, but in social issues. Because we know the living Jesus, we’re hopeful and childlike in our belief that, as people of faith called to “be salt and light,” good things will happen as we meet, love, talk with, learn from, and experience life alongside our friends and neighbors in the larger culture.