Every one of our kids enjoyed playing with puzzle boards. The template of shapes varied from letters, to farmyard animals. A shapes fit to the A board. Chicken shapes, no matter how much focused twisting occurred, never quite fit to the Cow template.
When I look upon the cultures of our day, and the Christians wrestling to find it’s place within it, I think of my kids puzzle board. Specifically in the west, the culture decaying around us. Christianity is losing it’s influence, fading into the backdrop – all the while the Church focuses energy on becoming more culturally relevant. Christianity of our day has become the kid nobody wanted to pick on the soccer team at recess – but we have cool shoes.
Have we forgotten that this world is broken? This cultures shapes and contours are broken, harsh, evil. There isn’t a single sanctified culture of our day – the entire world is under the influence of the evil one.
For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19
As believers, we recognize we all fit into this broken board at one time. Oblivious to it’s power, but bound by it nonetheless. No physical or mental gymnastics could free us from Satan’s harsh grid. We were enemies of God, stuck and formed by a fallen culture.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
Through the mercy of God, Jesus came and provided a way of escape. He came into this world, but He did not take on it’s shape. He lived a perfect life, showed us the Father and was crucified for our rebellion.
God, through Jesus, shows us a new Kingdom, not of this world – the perfect board, made by a loving and Holy God.
God’s people were never intended to be ‘culturally relevant’ – we were made for His Kingdom first. By looking to Jesus, we become shaped by Him (2 Cor 3:18). God’s intention is for His people to be re-inserted back into the board of our present day culture. A people reflecting the Light of Christ in a world of ignorance. A preserving salt in a decaying world.
A grid on top of a grid. Our lives are now hid with Christ. We are not our own. We belong not to the broken grid of this world.
We are beloved, cherished, cleansed and righteous through faith. Embrace that the world rejects Kingdom relevant Christianity – it rejected God Himself and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing more relevant than the Creator of all things.
God has re-inserted His Kingdom board over top of the grid of this world. Many of our new shapes simply won’t fit into the broken board anymore. I’m good with that. This world is passing away.
The message of hope in Christ is the only hope to pull humanity from the clutches of sin. Mask the message too deep in culture and it loses it’s power. The Gospel is great news for tiny life boats without a chance in the coming storm. Hope in Christ is the only truly relevant thing we have to offer. The power of this message is not something engineered by cultural coolness.
We’re not the sorry kid left unpicked by the cool kids, we’re the superhero’s of eternity – armed with the Love of Christ. The world can have their soccer. We’re not to intentionally be weird or persecuted, that’s just going happen naturally as we care and become formed to God’s eternal grid. The cool thing? By focusing on His grid, we become fishers of men and enter the revolution that is called Christianity. That is cool.
Grow your long beards, smoke your pipes and sip your fresh coffee, but for the love of God and humanity, be Kingdom relevant – live the Kingdom grid. Start by giving a rip about someone that doesn’t have your name.