...despite all the fancy buildings, sophisticated programs, and highly visible presence, it is my contention that the church is almost a nonentity when it comes to shaping culture. In the arts, entertainment, media, education, and other culture-shaping venues of our country, the church has abdicated its role as salt and light.
Culturally, we are lambs. Meek, lowly, easily dismissed cuddly creatures that are fun to watch but never a threat to the status quo.
It's time for those lambs to roar.
...My point is really quite simple. Look around you. Can you honestly say that Christian influence is felt in Hollywood? That a Christian presence is evident in the major art galleries and museums of our land? That when you turn on the television you are aware of an underlying foundation of Judeo-Christian values in that medium? That as you pick up the morning newspaper you see objective (not favorable, just objective) treatment of religion in your community? That when you browse through the best sellers at the airport bookstores you will find even one novel written by an active, church-going, born again Christian?
Do you honestly believe that our big churches and highly visible Christian leaders have brought about a movement that is taken seriously in this country?
We feel we are making a difference because we are so important to ourselves. We have created a phenomenal subculture with our own media, entertainment, educational system, and political hierarchy so that we have the sense that we're doing a lot. But what we've really done is create a ghetto that is easily dismissed by the rest of society.
...I'm afraid many in the world view us as a flock of lambs grazing in the safe pastures surrounding our churches that have been designed to blend right in with the neighborhood landscape. We're good neighbors. We look like everyone else. And except for Sunday morning, we follow the same patterns of behavior as those who have little or no interest in religion. Our lives are divided into sections labeled religious and secular, and neither category seems to affect the other. Consequently, our religious views are not taken very seriously.
I have a number of friends in network television, the business community, newspaper journalism, and the arts, and I've learned two things about them. First, they have little to do with Christianity, but second, they are consumed by their pursuit of success. What this has told me is that if I want to reach them with the Gospel, the worst thing I could do is invite them to church or "witness" to them during a break in the board meeting. On the other hand, if I want to point them toward the Savior, I need to make sure my professional behavior is stellar. I need to make the best presentations, close the most successful deals, deliver the greatest product I possibly can. To them, my work is a reflection of who I am.
...We need to reclaim the territory, not in a triumphalistic sense but out of a strong conviction that this is where we belong. Our churches are growing. Our colleges are full. Subscriptions and sales are up at our magazine- and book- publishing companies. And our broadcast media continue to bring our own music and teaching into our homes. In short, our subculture is healthy. It doesn't need more attention. It's the world that needs help.
It's time for the lambs to roar.
What I'm calling for is a radically different way of thinking about our world. Instead of running from it, we need to rush into it. And instead of just hanging around the fringes of our culture, we need to be right smack dab in the middle of it.
Can we hear the voice of the Spirit here? This is what I've been talking about. Dream big! Act now! Stand out! Be the miracle!
Watch out for my new initiative DreamBigRevolution! A community and a movement that seeks to nurture, inspire, and equip shining stars for the Kingdom of God.