Are Christians Supposed to Be Counter-Cultural?

Counter-cultural was one of those trendy phrases a few years ago. I still hear it often, especially as a call to Christians to be counter-cultural.

I get it. Our lives are supposed to reflect truths and choices that run against the flow of the world, but…

We still breathe the same air, swim in the same water, use the same roads, work in similar places, and so on.

Many groups and movements have used the phrase counter-cultural through the years. Google it, and you’ll find it listed alongside words, people, and movements in history, such as Woodstock, Vietnam, race relations, middle class, and much more. At its very root, counter-cultural simply describes a subculture’s rejection of a mainstream way of doing things. In a sense, perhaps Christianity has always been counter-cultural, but we need to be careful in wearing it as a badge of honor or identity.

People already know what we stand against. In fact, many people make assumptions about what we stand against because of some active, vocal, and even fanatical individuals and groups that stand under the umbrella of Christianity. I may have some things in common with some of those people and groups, but I think I have more not in common with them. When we respond with hatred, legalism, and judgment instead of humility, compassion, and discernment, we are not living as counter-culturally as we might believe. But we may be living counter to Christ.

Yes, we as Christians are called to be different than the world. We are set apart. But we still share the world with others, including many who do not believe what we believe. We can certainly speak out against some things, but we need to be certain we only do so in the context of what we are for and who we believe. We don’t stand on a platform. We stand on Christ.

We must be significant within the culture we live. Being set apart isn’t the same as separating from. Just as Jesus told us, there will be times we shake the dust off our feet and move on, and there will be times when we ask questions that help people explore where they are and what choices they face.

Be different because of who God created you to be, not just for the sake of being different. Refuse to jump on a bandwagon. Know Jesus well and follow Him. Refuse to let what you’re against cloud Who you’re for. Refuse to be more familiar with what you oppose than with whom God intends you to be.

3 thoughts on “Are Christians Supposed to Be Counter-Cultural?

  1. Love the last paragraph. It pains me to see on social media all the negativity. Yes, I agree with many of the positions, but a meal consisting of only one food is not a well balanced meal. Attacking the opposite view only makes that side defensive and not open to God’s love and truth.

    Like

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