If you listen to some Christians, you would think that these two things are completely distinct. For them, faith is something you “do” in church on a Sunday, or maybe reading the Bible or praying. Apart from that, you are living in a secular culture, a totally separate compartment of life.
I don’t believe the Bible teaches this. If you read the words of Jesus or the Apostles, you will find that there is to be interaction between the two. Jesus said: ” In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
And Peter wrote:” Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”(1 Peter 2:12 NIV). AwAMONG the pagans, not separate.
How does this work then? I can do no better than give 2 examples from the last couple of weeks.
It cannot have escaped your notice that the Olympics have been on. The Irish boxer Katie Taylor has been hailed as a hero. What has also been widely reported is that she has a real faith and trust in Jesus. Here’s what she said:
“I dreamt of this moment so many times before and now I just can’t believe the grace of God in my life right now. I just want to thank everyone for all their prayers. I said it yesterday, as well, with all the prayers over the last week. I’d be nothing without God. Im here because of the grace of God in my life and because of Jesus in my life and without him I’d be nothing really. So praise God, thank you Jesus for such a great victory today.” (As quoted on the Spiritradio.ie Facebook page).
Secondly, twice in the past few days, I had the privilege of hearing a very talented musical family from America called The Willis Clan. They are siblings who sing and play a number of musical instruments really well in traditional Irish/Bluegrass style. Their Facebook page is here. Their faith in God was very clear, although there was no explicitly evangelistic message (someone I was talking to thought there should be, but that’s another story….). The important thing was that God’s good gift of music was celebrated.
In both these cases, God was glorified. In neither case was a direct appeal made to trust in Jesus. But God was still very much a part of their lives. Here culture and faith engaged.
In a very ordinary way, without forcing the issue, we need to make sure that faith engages with culture where we are. You never know, someone might start to ask questions.