While browsing the internet last night I came across someone saying that conservatives ignore popular culture at their own very great peril. It was one of those phrases that stuck with me throughout the night and today, because I believe it is true. I also believe the church has members who (1) ignore it so much that they cannot relate to others or (2) become so enamored by our culture that they start falling into it. I do not see very many people in the middle.
I will admit that I tend to fall into the former category. I simply have not had much interest in a lot of popular culture, as I tended to follow more counter-culture norms growing up (punk rock, metal, skating, "geek" culture, etc, etc). I still have a tendency to follow counter-cultural norms, just because that is where my interests lie. What I have been realizing, however, is that I cannot pretend that popular culture does not exist, or that is has no effect on myself, those around me, or the church as a whole. It does and always will have an effect. If we choose to blind ourselves to this fact, we will very quickly find ourselves outnumbered and out of touch with the very people we are trying to reach!
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying we should go out and watch every bad movie, listen to every sexist, perverted song or suddenly decide to have no problem with the exceptionally disastrous direction modern TV programming is headed. What I am saying is that we do need a working knowledge of what is out there and who is who.
In Matthew 10:16 Jesus told His followers to "be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." In other words, when He sent out the 12 to spread God's kingdom He realized that they needed to not be oblivious to the world around them while at the same time being innocent of the sin in it. We would do well to heed those words ourselves.
Whether we like it or not, the world surrounds us on every side, threatening to take us at every opportunity. We can either bury our heads in the sand, hoping it will all just disappear, or we can take the fight to the world, and take the lost from its clutches. Remember, we are not of the world, but we are in it.
Let us take the fight to the world. It is enemy territory, and should be treated as such, but not in a way that makes us oblivious to how to deal with it. Let us use all the tools, intelligence, and faith at our disposal to help those lost in the world.
Let us start now.