Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three Questions to Help Us Look Deeper at the Current Cultural Crisis

by Danetta Kellar

The world is in an uproar. 

At least the world of those of us who live in the United States of America. We are experiencing a cultural crisis of historic proportions. No one is exempt. The Left, the Right, and every shade in between is feeling the tension and discomfort of change. We can never again hide from the diverse needs of our nation.

I attended a conference in 2011 which was led by a cultural anthropologist. He pointed to the rising interest at the time in hot social issues among young Christians in America. Those concerns primarily included human trafficking and unclean water. In the years since, a flood of refugees and the needs they bring has enlarged the list to epic proportions. 

Young people were flocking to events which challenged them to follow the Social Jesus, a Savior who cares for the poor and oppressed. Youth found a purpose in this calling, a place of authenticity where they could make their lives and faith really count for something. I was stirred by this trend, for I had just returned from living in a developing country where human trafficking, unclean water, and refugees were the norm, not the exception. Thank God, I thought, America can see the need.

I have long since forgotten that anthropologist’s name, but I owe him a debt of gratitude for what he taught me. He asked three questions which I have never stopped thinking about. They have served as a compass to me many times since. 

When one observes a cultural crisis, a surging trend, ask yourself these questions. 
  1. What need does this reveal in the human heart?
  2. How does the Bible respond to this need?
  3. What is my role in communicating that to my community and the world?
At the time of that seminar, Christian youth were crying out for their lives to count. For authenticity. For faith that was active and changed the world. 

The Bible responds in passages like Psalm 82:3: Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Or Psalm 146:7: He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free. 

My family and I responded to that need by spending our Christmas Eves serving the marginalized with food and clothing. We volunteered at a local trafficking safe house. We let life get unpredictable and messy by providing shelter in our home for the depressed and disillusioned. We did not regret any of it, and we became better at seeing the oppressed and the hurting all around us right here in suburban America.

Today’s cultural crisis is real, and no one can hide from it. 

We would do well to ask ourselves these three questions and search carefully for the answers.

1.  What need does the current cultural crisis reveal in the human heart? 
A need to be seen. A need to be accepted, understood and healed. A champion to undertake our cause. A need for a Savior.
2.  How does the Bible respond to this need? 
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5. Or, in describing the role of Jesus the Messiah, Isaiah 61:1-3, The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
3.  What is my role in meeting this need in my community and the world? 
This last question we must each answer on our own.
I hope these questions will help you as they have me to navigate this time in history.

Please share your thoughts about how to answer them in light of current events. Let’s start the conversation today.


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