|Retreat center outside of Brasilia, Brazil, where Linda and I were a few years ago.|
The message of Jesus is deeply, profoundly countercultural.
This is why, pastors, being "relevant" is acquiescing to culture, rather than being transforming agents of culture.
Incarnate - yes! But look how Jesus did it. He did not consider equality with culture a thing to be grasped. Instead, he "came to cast fire upon the earth!" (Luke 12:49)
Ahhh... but our culture wants to tame Jesus, and us along with him. Forget fire-casting. Put those torches away and entertain the people. We are to be "nice." We are not supposed to create problems and make trouble on the earth.
The voices of American culture want to "turn us into replicas of our cultural leaders, seeking after power and influence and prestige. These insistent voices drum away at us, telling us pastors to go out and compete against the successful executives and entertainers who have made it to the top, so that we can put our churches on the map and make it big in the world." (Eugene Peterson, in Marva J. Dawn. The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call, Kindle Locations 59-61)
My fellow pastors, my colleagues - shall we revolt against our culture's ideas of what we are to be, pick up the flame of Jesus, and bring fire down in our churches, in our communities? And do so in humility and love, empowered by the Spirit?