Culture Vulture (1.8)

Yeah, you’re wondering when I’m actually going to get to part 2 of the “culture vulture” series and stop with the graded sidebars.

Me, too.

Anyway, Steve Camp has stopped by to, um, do what he does, and in it he said this:
I don't think contextually that Jensen was making a mandate for engaging culture. It sounded more like to me that he was sharing personally his own struggle with fear with those at the University to whom he was battling with. IOW, it was his personal testimony; not a strategery for how we view the "culture" discussion.
And on the one hand I’m edified that someone else uses the word “strategery” in English sentences, but on the other hand, I think that Steve is missing my point here rather broadly.

Before this appears to be a merciless beating, let me say that it’s likely that I haven’t made my point clearly, so Steve’s missing it isn’t really his fault.

My point in posting Philip Jensen’s quote there was –not- to say “engage the culture”. In fact, I’d say that my point is sort of perpendicular to “engage the culture”.

Seriously: it’s sort of stupid to deny that “culture” exists or that people are in it. If there are people living together there is a culture among them. Period. No question.

But what I think Jensen was saying was that the Gospel ought to overcome our fear of these people and their culture. I think one way of saying that – and it’s a sort of old fashioned way of saying it, if johnMark will forgive me for saying so – is that we fear God and not man. Yes: true enough.

But I think what Jensen was saying is that if we fear men, thinking they have something we don’t have which they will not or should not reject, we don’t have any interior basis for preaching the Gospel to them.

I realize that’s a very Baptistic way of saying that, but here’s what I mean: the Gospel is the Good News. There is no better news; there’s nothing like it or which really competes with it in terms of “what’s in it for me”. And when, for example, we are afraid that someone has something smarter to say than we do in the Gospel (the Gospel is foolishness, after all), or something more economically-enriching (all who seek to live a Godly life will, after all, be persecuted), we can not preach the Gospel – because we do not actually know the Gospel.

We lack it if we think that it needs to make us sound smart or that it needs to improve someone’s financial portfolio.

So as we still think about what’s coming in part 2 of this series, let me say it frankly: if you are afraid of somebody, you can’t preach the Gospel to them. If you think their kung fu is actually better than the Gospel kung fu, you don’t have the Gospel kung fu.