This Sunday we’ll be returning to our series Following Jesus into the World. We’re going to consider how we can engage our culture without judging people, nor accommodating every development a society makes. We pointed out two weeks ago that our present American culture has become “disenchanted” – that is, scientific rationalism has resulted in a deeply secularized society. The willingness to embrace a belief in a God who can’t be seen nor proven empirically is no longer considered a beneficial option. We considered some of the ways the church has reacted to our Post-Christian culture, and so far, our track record has not been all that positive.
This week we’ll look at Acts 17, where Paul engaged the Athenian culture in his sermon on Mars Hill. The Ancient Greeks present the closest parallel we’ll find to our modern, Western world. As you read over his sermon, how would you characterize his words? Does he sound combative or angry? What did he tell them about Moses or the Old Testament? Who did he reference in his talk? How observant and knowledgeable did Paul seem to be with the Athenian worldview?
If we were to look at Paul as an example of how to engage a culture which doesn’t acknowledge our God or our faith, what can we apply from his approach as we seek to engage our world? Paul observed an altar to “the unknown god” and saw it as a crack in their preconceptions through which he could shine the light of the gospel. What sort of cracks can we observe in our own culture’s barriers to the unseen, spiritual world? How might we shine our hope through those cracks?
Hopefully this will give us some things to think about, and maybe we can keep our eyes open for opportunities we hadn’t considered before. See you Sunday!