Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going into others Sub-Cultures

Have you ever invited someone to your church, an event, or some type of club you may be a part of? How often do we think in those moments that are invitations could be scary to them? For example: what if you had someone who was homosexual that you were a friend with try to invite you to a gay bar, would you go? What you walk into their sub-culture? I know I would be hesitant, if not completely against it, but I have to wonder if it is any different for people we invite into our Christian sub-culture?

If we desire to reach our friends, family, and neighbors for Christ and introduce them to his love, then we may need to be willing to go into others sub-cultures. After-all, if we expect them to come into ours, which can bring a lot of anxiety and fear to those who don't go to church, then we should be willing to go into theirs.

Something to think about: what sub-cultures exists in the people you are reaching out to or desire to reach out to?


  1. Hmmm. Let's see. All of my siblings claim to be of the Islamic faith. They all say they were Christians at one point in their lives.. so I question them. Were you TRULY Christian? Because if so, there is no way you would turn your back on a real living God. One of my brothers is also openly gay. It has been difficult trying to speak with my siblings.. everything turns into a debate.

  2. There are so many sub-cultures in todays society. Different groups seperate off and tend to cling to people who act and think just like they do. As Christians we are probably the worst of the offenders. However, We must rememeber we have the answer for every hurt, pain, and empty feeling every person in any sub-culture is feeling.
    Its LOVE that makes the difference. No matter what sub-culture someone happens to be a part of, LOVE transcends that. If you invite someone to church that is homosexual or deep into addiction our alcohol abuse they may be reluctant, but when they see Christ LOVE operating through you it changes things.
    We always must remember we have "the way, the truth, and the life" inside of us, but we have to be willing to humble ourselves and our "religous ideas" to reach out. To show light we have to be willing to step into a dark place.

  3. The church has created its own weird Christian sub-culture that really looks no different from its surrounding culture. Consumerism, individualism, materialism, and many other ism's of contemporary culture are the marks of what many call church today (most church services are where people are passive individual materialistic consumers of religious goods and services offered by the best and newest vendor). The only difference is they have the name of Jesus stamped on them. This culture it represents is indistinguishable from the world it seeks to "save." It is worldly at its very core. Today's Christian culture is destroying Christianity. By today's Christian culture I mean the vast network of people, ministries, bookstores, magazines, musicians, TV, radio programs, and the like. But many pride themselves on avoiding this type of approach. After all, they have striven to be "culturally relevant." But if we have established a distinctly separate Christian culture that runs parallel to the mainstream culture, and we assume that living in the parallel culture will shelter and protect us, then we have alienated ourselves from other people (the homosexual community for instance). Are we any less alienated when we take all the things of everyday life and culture - tv, radio, music, t-shirts, jewelery, greeting cards, breath mints, etc. - and market them with the word "Christian" placed before them? I think not.

    So why would anyone be hesitant to go to a gay bar. Could it be because they have alienated themselves? Do they think they will somehow catch "gayness"? Is not the one who lives in us greater than that which is in the world?

    If Christians truly want to engage the various sub-cultures that exist in our world, then you must follow Paul's example in Acts 17 for instance. You must be ready to take a walk around your "Athens" shut your mouth and open your eyes and ears even though your spirit make be provoked because of what you see or hear. But be a student of the culture newvertheless. Then look for evidence of a spiritual quest, evidence of "unknown gods" and speak the life transformative Gospel into it.

  4. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.I think we need to be the light on the hill.How can we equate inviting a gay person to church to agreeing to go to one of the gay clubs?
    I don't need to eat garbage to know it's gonna taste bad and not be good for me. My being healthy and going into a hospital quartintine isn't going to make the sick people well.
    How can my going into a gay bar with a friend help my testimony? Why would they want what I have if there isn't any change or difference?I have some gay aquaintances and when I look at them, I see a person,not a sexual orientation.However,I would not expect anyone in a gay bar or other sub-culture club to listen to me talk about Jesus and the difference He's made in my life. If anything they woud probably thing I was mocking them.
    When my friend Chris was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, she was very fearful. Now I met Chris in a bar. I had never been in one before the divorce, but I was angry at God and felt I had been good long enough and what did it get me? So, I went down,down,down.I was at this bar at least 3 nights a week.Having never been in a place like that before, I got an education real quick!My friend Chris saw my naivete and took me under her wing.She and her husband Ted met me at my worst.So, when she got cancer, she decided she wanted to go to church.She wanted to cover all her bases so she wanted to try out different churches and religions.I agreed to go with her,so we went.Trust me we tried them all!We even went to a black church in Nashville with her gay neighbor who was an usher there;actually that was a fun church! Sometimes,she had questions and because of my poor testimony I felt it was more difficult to share Jesus,cause I was still mad at God.I say all this to show I had the answer I just had never shown her Jesus in my life so sharing was more than difficult.What I'd say needed to ring true.If He was a comfort to me, why did I have to drink so much to make the pain go away? Forgiveness? I could never master that!If life was so precious why did I treat mine so lightly and tempt death?
    We did start reading Max Lacado's book together on a Purpose Driven Life and she settled on Fairview,confessed Christ and got baptized and for that I am thankful.
    The reason I went to that kind of environment was because everyone had abandonded me.People believed the lies and my reputation was trashed.After that I figured if I was accussed of doing such and such, I might as well do it.
    All my life people expected me to be so good,sweet and PERFECT and at the bar,nobody expected anything from me. There were no judgements.Once in a while I'd see people from the chhurchI had been a member of come into the bar and I thought ahah,those little hypocrites!Make me feel like crap, but here there are.
    You know Jesus reached out to all people who were into all kinds of sin.I never read of him going into a brothel or a bar or and idol temple. He said he would draw all men to him. To show the world the Way,we just gotta shine.

  5. Laurie. Jesus didn't go to bars (they didn't exist as we know them), but he did turn water into wine at a wedding party. A party he had been invited to and he obviously accepted the invitation. He also ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners prostitutes and pharisees many of which he called to be his closest followers. Would a gay person/a drug addict/a drunk/a homeless person etc. be welcomed at your church and treated as equals or as an "other" and as an outsider? Could they belong before the become? I am not advocating participating in the goings on at a bar, but not only are we to be light, we should also be salt. What I mean is that I have many many friends who are far kingdom, yet they are my friends which means if they invite me to a bar I will go. They know I do not drink nor approve of much of their lifestyle, but they do now they can count on me to speak the Truth as well as be a true friend to them. So my point is, if you are truly a friend then your telling of the redemptive story of the Gospel will always be appreciated and not seen as mocking. And as far as your testimony, who you trying to impress? Other people or God. You see God entered into his sinful creation and became one of us, taking all of that sin upon himself at the cross forever changing both human and divine history. Now we have all been sent as His ambassadors to proclaim he who brought us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Furthermore, that light shines brightest in dark places. Around only other lights it is only another light.

  6. I'm sorry Michael, not sure how to take your comment to what I've shared about my life experience.I agree to your statement about us being both light and salt and that was what I was trying to say how I felt I had been a poor testimony.Not trying to impress anyone,just wanting my walk to match my talk.
    I do share the gospel with people wherever I go and have had the joy and privilage to seeing many come to Christ.I agree with you as to going out into darkness to share the light.I just can't picture me sitting at the bar throwing back a couple of shots and quoting John 3:16.
    Obviously, if we are feeling compelled to go out and seek these people, we see their need;that they are lost in sin and need a Saviour,just like the adulterer,idolator,drunkered and so on(1Cor.6:9-11)and(Rom.1:26-27).
    I don't think I am any better than anyone else.I am just a sinner saved by grace.
    So my question is this.If you want a gay person to feel like they belong to the church before they come to Christ,what does that make the church but just another club? They'd be no different than I was years ago-belonging to a religion and not ever having the relationship.One, that's confusing and two, where's the love in that?
    Also, what if a gay person wanted to lead worship service or teach a teen bible class or preach? What if a gay couple wanted to be married in our church by our pastor? What would we say to that? If we said no, that's talkin out of two sides of our mouths isn't it? We love, we want you to feel comfortable here, but you don't fit in with our criteria.
    Going into other cultures or sub-cultures with the gospel-I have no problem with that,that's what we are supposed to do.
    Sin is sin.God hasn't changed his views on it.I refuse to embrace a view because it is deemed to be politically or religiously correct.I see people.I see their need and I know God loves them no matter what sin(s)they participate in.That isn't for me to judge.That is why I share what Jesus means to me wherever I go.He prepares the heart and I am to do my job.

  7. Truly the "gay question" is going to be the hot ticket discussion, but you really could replace homeosexuality with any other vice or sin that the Chrisitan faith has been associated with being against.

    So that beign said, I think Jesus was a perfect example of someone willing to walk with those the religious culture deemed unfit to be a part of the Kingdom. He was accused of being a drunk, a glutton, a heretic, you name it. But He also taught that being willing to step into a "sub culture" does not mean you are willing to become a member of that culture. It just means you are not judging it as any worse than any other culture (including the religious culture).

    We are all sinners no matter what our culture is. We must embrace our broken brothers and sisters as God embraces us all, but at the same time have to be careful lest we somehow glamourize the sub culture we are stepping into. Should the church be "welcoming" to a homosexual couple who wanted to become members? Define welcoming. If that means "affirming" the behavior, then I personally would have a problem with that. If it means accepting that gay people need Jesus the same way I need Jesus, I absolutely welcome them, and anyone else looking for the Peace of Christ.

    Question is...would a gay person welcome me if it were clear that I love them as Christ loves them, but I consider their lifestyle sinful just as ,in my opinion, Jesus would.

    These are tough questions and I suspect the answers will be very passionate.