Culture.

This morning’s News & Observer had an article with remarks from Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor. (The full article can be found here.) Speaking on America’s cultural deterioration, Jindal said this:

In a dinner speech, Jindal said the U.S. must do more to restore its core cultural values, which he said had been under assault by television, Hollywood, the Internet, music, the arts and even cell phones.

“For all the advances in our society … in many ways our culture in recent years has been in a state of deterioration, not improvement,” Jindal told about 475 people at a packed dinner held by the John Locke Foundation, a Raleigh-based conservative think tank.

From what I’ve heard about Jindal, he’s been a good governor for Louisiana (if, for no other reason, he hasn’t been arrested yet). But he’s wrong on this issue. The problem with our culture, ultimately, is not Hollywood or the Internet; it’s our own sin and wickedness. It’s our own complacency towards confronting evil, both internal and external.

It’s a problem that was dealt with on the cross, where Jesus took our sins upon himself, and the resurrection, where Jesus became not only alive again but also the guarantor of new life to anyone who trusts and follows him. (By focusing on these two, I’m not trying to marginalize Jesus’ miracles, which are signs of the world he’s creating, or his teaching, which guides and helps transform the people of God.)

So for those of us who trust him and (imperfectly) follow him, our goal isn’t to shun culture or to fight against “enemies” like Hollywood that aren’t really enemies at all; it’s to bring the gospel to it and make Jesus famous in it. To add beauty and justice and love and fellowship to it. To embody a radically different way of life by living from our identities as God’s children and citizens of the kingdom of God.

Salt is used both to preserve food as well as add to its flavor, and salt is what Jesus called his learners (Matthew 5:13). Light is used both to expose and get rid of darkness, as well as show people what’s good and beautiful about something, and Jesus called his learners light (Matt. 5:14).

So if you trust Christ, how are you bringing him to your culture?

Do you even know what culture you live in?

Before you try to fight against the darkness in your community, are you wrestling with the evil that still exists in your flesh?

And, if you or your church were to be removed from your neighborhood, would anyone miss you?

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