One of our board members recently spent time with Tim Keller, who has written numerous books, built a thriving church in New York City, and is now working on a church planting movement in the cities of America. He’s become one of the most respected voices on Christianity, the church, and modern-day culture. Here’s a net-out of the key takeaways from our board member’s time with Keller . . .
- People used to see Truth as something outside (of themselves) and feelings as being inside. Our cultural norms, primarily drawn from Judeo-Christian beliefs, led us to bend our feelings to the Truth. We sacrificed pleasure and freedoms to adhere to the Truth, which guided everyone’s behavior.
- Today’s culture says truth is inside of ourselves. Find your truth and live as you please. Cultural norms are antiquated and irrelevant, and as such, my truth must be accommodated. Each individual insists that culture bend its laws and norms to accommodate their truth.
- The result? Our identities are fragile because my truth is me! If you attack my truth, you attack me. The absence of shared values leads to individualization, isolation, and collectively, to polarization.
- Today’s culture is communicating these ideals:
1. Be true to yourself.
2. In the end, do what makes you happy. Don’t sacrifice that for anything.
3. You should be free to live any way you choose as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.
4. Nobody has the right to tell anyone else what’s right or wrong for them.
- This creates a self-focused individualism, which yields transactional relationships. This self-focused individualism yields transactional relationships. “I’m good as long as I get what I want, but when the price goes up, I’m out of here.” Forever, cultures believed there was something bigger and better than themselves. Now culture doesn’t believe in God or sin or afterlife. These are external concepts. Because truth is inside ourselves, they’re secondary or even superfluous.
- So, what do we do? What’s the counteroffer from Christianity?
1. We have a working idea for how to find meaning in life.
2. We know how true satisfaction and contentment feel.
3. We live out of our solid identity as secure sons and daughters of God.
4. We have hope and a way to handle suffering.
- We must show culture that their secular viewpoint does not offer adequate resources for these needs, especially compared to Christianity. We must help them question their answers when they aren’t working for them. We must line up the teaching of doctrine and the Bible with the world’s narratives, so people see how culture’s narratives don’t meet these four deep needs.
Challenge: Pray for our culture, for the pastors and church leaders who will lead us through these tumultuous times. Pray for yourself . . . that you will live under His Truth and not make up your own.