For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Reflections

I recently requested for my birthday the book called: Think Christianly. You would not believe how excited my bookish hubby was at the thought that his wife of ten years finally asks for a book as a birthday gift.

Anyway, I am tremendously enjoying this book and want to share what I am learning from it.

The book is divided into three sections:

  1. Understanding our Intersection: Defining terms and taking a look at where our world is at.
  2. Preparing to Engage: a look at how we can prepare ourselves to take up the challenge we are faced with.
  3. Areas we Must Engage: a look at specific areas where we need to apply and impact our world with our christian thinking.

From chapter 1, 2 and 3, a few highlights:

1.  A clear distinction between culture and world is vital to thinking christianly and acting the way we ought to in this present day and age. Culture is "what we make of our world; advancements in the way we use our resources".  World is a "realm; idea systems". Culture is influenced by the world or by our worldview. Furthermore, one must distinguish between culture and pop - culture. Pop-culture is "What most people adhere to, resonate with, embrace and consume when it comes to culture."

 The idea system of our present world is against God - the main tenets being naturalism and hedonism - and we ought not be "part of it", but not everything that our culture comes up with is necessarily evil. One must be shrewd in distinguishing between the two.

2.  "Christians ought to be different, but for kingdom reasons, not just for silly legalistic or christian subculture Reasons". Our distinction comes from our different worldview, values, priorities, and these are set by God and His Word.

3.  Our mandate, as created being, is to make something of this world, and as redeemed and transformed people, we christians should seek to make something out of the world, to be culturally engaged, for the glory of God and to so being guided by His realities. This means that though, we ought to not be "of" the world (meaning sharing the world's worldview), we ought to be "in" this world (meaning fully engaged with our world).

4.   "As ambassadors of Christ, if people are going to stumble and take issues with us, we want them to stumble over Christ, not us". The gospel is offensive enough that we do not need to give our opponents reasons to not listen to what we have to say. This again demands careful reflection in the way and reasons why we oppose things, the way we critique, consume, and copy culture. This also means we need to know our story (Christian heritage and beliefs) well and accurately. What we believe is true we need to be able to explain that well and accurately.

5. Our engagement of the culture must be characterized by love.

6. Our success in our engagement is not measured by the results but by our faithfulness to the task. How faithful to the biblical mandate we are.

7. The author identifies three challenges facing the next generation:
Boredom and Apathy: "We must redefine the good life for our youth and cast a compelling vision for it."

Relation Disconnection : we need to reconnect with our youth instead of letting them wander and navigate in this world without guidance.

Intellectual Disengagement. : We need to help our youth to nurture a good foundation on how to think. We must help them see that "we must base our lives on true knowledge of reality."

8. We need to mentor our youths, surround them with grounded christians examples, and most of all help them build a strong Christian worldview from a young age, through wrestling with the important questions of life such as: Does God exist? Is it reasonable to believe in the existence of God? Can we trust the Bible? Can we know who Jesus claimed to be? If God is good why is there evil? etc....

Bottom line the first step to thinking christianly is to have a mind constantly being renewed by God's truth and reality so that we can engage our world as we culturally interact with it.

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