Christlife Posture: Trusting God's Wisdom

Topic: Outlook--Current Cultural Trends

 

Suggested Approach: Choose 1 thing from each of the three boxes

OR Choose 1 from Media or Reflection + 1 from Scripture 

Media Excursions (Watch/read/listen and be ready to discuss Q's)

Still Images

  • Photograph: Cultural Rest (Gor Chahal) Use this image to think about finding a balance between being aware of what is going on in our culture and knowing when to close our eyes.  Are there things you should open your eyes to more?  Why do you think so?

  • Painting: Jesus Carrys the Cross (J. Janknegt) What do you think the artist is trying to communicate about faith and culture in this painting?

Video Clip

  • Dear TV Sitcoms (Amena Brown) What did the popular culture reflected in the sitcoms you grew up with tell you that now feels misleading? What kinds of filters do you use to take in the cultural messages of TV or movies? Make a list of the positive and negative messages of your current favorite show.

  • How to Have a Blessed Life by a Child (Freedom Church) How does this rendering of the Beatitudes highlight some of the contrasts between God’s wisdom and the world’s?

  • 10 Non-Crazy Christians in TV and Film (slateprojectbmore) Hmm. A look at some depictions in media.  How does a cultural understanding of how a believer behaves affect how you view your own faith?

  • Confession (slateprojectbmore) How does an emphasis on individualism in Christianity affect the way you think about or approach cultural issues?

Song

Article 

  • Being a Culture-Maker (Interview with Andy Crouch) Andy says, "The place where faith and culture meet most fruitfully is where culture is broken." Do you agree?  This article also explores what it means to pursue "small movements in local culture." What comes to mind for you as you read about that? Which examples stood out to you? 

  • Six Ways Biblical Flourishing is Unique (Hugh Whelchel)  How have you heard culture define “the good life”? Does this author’s explanation of biblical flourishing surprise you at all? Why or why not?

  • Concerned about Culture? (Art Lindsley)  What do you think of Jesus’ “either/or” categories?  How are you prone to want to blur the lines in those categories to keep you from having to confront a character issue?

  • Podcast or article: Walking with God in Clash with Our Culture (James Davis) What similarities do you find in being a person of faith in this culture with the Noah story as it is explored here? What stands out to you as helpful or unhelpful in this article/podcast?

Video Teaching

  • The Two Scariest Lies in our World Right Now (Francis Chan) Do you hear these “lies” in our society?  If you think he successfully refutes these lies, how does he do it? If he doesn’t, what questions are you left with that are unanswered? How are you doing in regard to them? Agree or disagree with the final quote by Welchel.

Reflection Options  

Journal  (reflect on one or more of these questions)

  • You have probably heard it said that Christians should be in the world but not of it.  What is your understanding of what that might mean? How do you live that out?

  • Make a list of some of the ways culture shapes you (and from what source? News? Global experiences? TV/Movies? Friends? etc.).  Make another list of the ways you have invited God to shape your perspectives?  What is the ratio of the first list to the second in time, strength of message or receptivity?  What has this exercise shown you?

  • As you consider your context, have believers or your church/local ministries been more shapers of current culture or shaped by current culture?  Why do you think that is?  What has been your role in shaping or being shaped?

Quote Interaction (Interact by agreeing, disagreeing or otherwise engaging with the quote/quotes)

  • “[The Pharisees] were trying to make Israel holier and holier as a way of separating their nation from other nations; but the point of the law and the prophets was to make Israel the light to the nations.”  (N.T. Wright-Luke For Everyone)

  • Matthew's Gospel reminds us that it is the role of a disciple of Jesus to stir up trouble by playing an active, resistant role in the struggle of good and evil, by resisting the ways of the world and its power bases – economic, religious, nationalistic, politic, military – which are most often in direct opposition to the ways of the Kingdom of God and the way of discipleship.” ― (Megan McKenna, And Morning Came: Scriptures of the Resurrection)

  • The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country. (Jerry Falwell)

Reading and Reflection from Shaping The Journey of Emerging Adults

  • Read, starting with the scripture quoted (Matthew 9:35-38, pp. 18-21).  As you read about the American culture and other cultures, do you agree that there is an acute level of spiritual crisis? What do you think of the “mission-critical” strategy that is suggested here?

  • Read “Value Shifts” (pp. 33-36). Which of the 4 shifts concerns you the most?  How have you been affected by those shifts?

  • Read “From Twentieth Century Thinking to Twenty First Century Thinking (p. 46-48) What approach has your own church employed in the effort to reach our “increasingly secularized culture”? How effective has it been? What would you like to see continue and what would you like to see change?

  • Read “Biblical Vision, Guidance and Support” (pp. 171-173). How has your idea of sexuality been informed by this culture? How does that contrast with what is presented as a biblical vision (in brief, read on for more explanation)?

  • MENTOR: Read “explore and resolve spiritual doubts” (p. 139) and “the Father’s heart regarding masculinity and femininity” (p. 187) and “Look for truth in God’s world to connect to God’s wisdom” (p. 202).  

 Explore Scripture

Meditate on one or more of the following passages. Always look them up in context.  Take some time to really explore the verse in relation to this topic.  What should our relationship to the broader culture be, according to scripture? How should we think about or understand the culture we are surrounded with?  Make a note of what you discover to share later.  See "Learn More About Ways to Study Scripture" below for help in getting the most out of the verse.

  • Genesis 6:5-13

  • Judges 21:25

  • Matthew 5:43-45

  • Matthew chapter 24

  • Luke 6:43-49

  • Luke 8:16-18

  • Luke 14:34-35

  • Luke 20:20-26

  • John 17:13-19

  • Acts 17:16-34

  • Romans 1:13-17

  • Romans 1:18-32

  • Romans 12:1-5, 21

  • I Corinthians chapter 10

  • James 4:4

  • I John 2:15-29