Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Going Beyond Popular Culture
It is easy to be tempted to conform to today’s pop culture with it’s a set of the practices, and beliefs that are dominant or ubiquitous with the pull of social media, the arts and entertainment industry, and news media. The latest pop culture news, music, movies, and celebrity stories have become very influential in our nation’s culture. Jesus was never impacted by culture. As a matter of truth, he was counterculture. He went against the norms of his time.
How do we keep ourselves from being polluted by the world as we are commanded to do with its many influences (1 John 2:15-17)?
What is the state of Christianity in America? Where are we as a church? Dr. Michael Brown in “The Fire That Never Sleeps: Keys For Sustaining Personal Revival” asks this question, “What shape are we in as the saints of God? Are we fulfilling the Great Commission and drawing from the rich well of our spiritual inheritance in Christ, or are we settling for substandard redefinition of Christianity that has been polluted and compromised by popular culture?”1
True spirituality that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans, and widows in their troubles, and to refuse to be corrupted by the world’s values (James 1:27 TPT).
Sadly, our nation has become divided between political parties. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to choose between being and Democrat, Republican or Independent. Yet each day we can see how divided our nation has become based upon political beliefs. Being a good Christian is not determined by whether we are one or the other.
We must be careful not to corrupt the gospel message with our partisan political views creating divisiveness within the community that is supposed to be known by our love. There’s been a lot of talk about “civility” in the news. Today it’s even difficult for people to be civil toward one another. Are we facing a civility crisis? Civility can be defined as speech that is courtesy, polite and gentle.
Over the past few years much has been said and written about the growing incivility in our country. Almost daily we read of white people calling the police over frivolous matters such as selling water, having a cookout in the park, landscaping a neighbor’s yard, teenagers swimming at local pool, and so forth. A week or so ago a white woman yelled rapist and called an Hispanic man, a US citizen doing yard work, a local restaurant decided not to serve a civil servant because of her affiliation with the President. Another public servant was hackled in a Washington, DC restaurant. A Politian lashed out encouraging her supporters to harass Trump administration officials. Just recently a man verbally attacked a woman for wearing a shirt with Puerto Rico’s flag on it and a ark police officer stood by and did nothing. This is insane in today’s climate of unruliness and lawlessness in our society.
“The incivility in America’s public discourse has grown so prevalent and toxic. It seems coarse name-calling has overtaken dignified civil discourse. Americans across political lines now consider it a crisis — and many feel physical and emotional stress because of it, states an article link on the National Institute for Civil Discourse. (2)
What does the Bible have to say about being civil towards one another? Let’s examine a few Scriptures:
- Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words (Eccl. 10:12).
- Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Eph. 4:29).
- Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right (James 3:9-10)!
- Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).
- But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language (Col. 3:8).
All of these Scriptures reflect speech that should be charitable and edifying. Name-calling, foul language and hateful or unnecessary expressions of anger have no place in our society.
“Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith” (Col. 4:6 TPT).
- Brown, M., Kilpatrick, J., with Sparks, L. (2015). The Fire That Never Sleeps: Keys For Sustaining Personal Revival. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny’s Image
- Civility crisis in American politics likely to get worse, experts say, Fri, 2018-07-06, https://nicd.arizona.edu/news/civility-crisis-american-politics-likely-get-worse-experts-say,
Dr. Francine is an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She hosts a broadcast called “Going Beyond Church” on Facebook. You can connect with Dr. Francine on Facebook at @afrancinegreen as well as on Twitter @beyond_2017. Visit her website at http://www.afrancinegreen.com.