Monday, July 13, 2009

Tim Keller Manual - Good stuff that's hard to do.

Keller has a section called ‘What kind of churches do we plant?’ and within that section, the thing that really resonated with me was a couple of paragraphs where he talks about culture, but not in terms of understanding the surrounding culture, which he and Driscoll are normally talking about (yes I’ve started to read the Driscoll – hence no Keller post for a while). He talks about the church as a ‘new generation’ that is different and distinct from those in the surrounding culture in terms of its economic, racial, social and psychological relationships. He talks about the church as ‘a pilot plant of what humanity would look like under the Lordship of Christ’.

This is always one of my background assumptions as I’m working at sermon preparation and it has also always been the thing that put a bit of a question mark for me over the homogeneous unit principle; the fact that whatever culture we emerge out of, as Christians we should be ‘evolving’ into a new culture as we learn what it means to submit together to the Lordship of Christ.

And I’ve been reminded again recently about the challenges involved in this ‘Christian cultural evolution’. We’ve been preaching through Proverbs recently at St Mark’s and I’ve found myself preaching things and listening to others preach things that are very ‘culturally incorrect’ for us as middle class Sydneysiders. On Sunday, as I preached on Proverbs wisdom for parents, I thought, ‘Do I really want to teach this?’ because I knew how counter cultural it would be for many (assuming I have correctly understood Proverbs). (You could check out the Proverb’s stuff at St Mark’s here if you were so inclined).

But Keller’s point reminds us that we should expect and welcome that experience as Jesus the Lord reorientates our cultural outlook.