There are many articles written about how the church is dying. Something is dying when it comes to church, but not what so many people think.
What is dying is not the church – it can’t. The gates of hell shall never prevail against it – we were promised this. The church is the people.
What is dying is Christendom. The church as earthly empire and upholder of popular culture. The church and Christianity are, at their core counter cultural. We’ve forgotten this until recently. It’s easy to do when the church and the Christian message were co-opted by the state for so many centuries and used to prop up the powers of the state and empire.
Why is Christianity counter cultural? Our culture tells us we can have what we want, when we want it. We can eat what we want, when we want it. We can buy what we want, when we want it, even without the money to pay for it. We can have sex with who we want, when we want to. We can be who we want, as long as it’s not the real person we were made to be. We can say what we want, when we want to regardless of whose listening. We can be the center of attention, as long as we say outrageous things to get everyone’s attention.
We hear this analogy play out in Genesis when the serpent tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit she wants, to get whatever she wants. This isn’t anything new. And the results are the same – disappointment, let down, fear, anger, blame, etc. The lies let us down.
Jesus and Christianity tells us a different message – Die to self. Pick up your cross and follow him. You aren’t in control of your life and never truly can be. Yet for all of the crap in your life and that you’ve done…Actually in spite of it…God adopts us into God’s family.
Christianity is counter cultural because it’s not about you and what you do and what you want. It’s about God’s will, who God is and what God has done. That message is a huge relief for so many in humanity today as it has been for centuries before. And at it’s core, it is counter cultural.