Change or create?

At the re:create conference a few weeks ago, a brilliant pastor named Jon Tyson spoke these words: “As Christians, we’re not called to change the world, we are called to create culture.”

This sentence became a center around which many conversations were built that week. And I totally got it.

Back at home, I shared this idea with a few people and I was met with blank stares and mumbled forms of ‘what does THAT mean?’ Hmmmm….. I could recreate Tyson’s supporting ideas, but I couldn’t tell you what it really would look like to ‘create culture’.
Carlos posted this quote on his blog, and a lively comment conversation has ensued. Go there if you’re up for some heady ‘purpose’ discussion.

After thinking it over, here’s where I’ve landed:
changing the world‘ looks, to me, like going out into our communities and saying ‘no’. No… don’t live like that….don’t think that way….. don’t vote/dance/eat/sing/parent/spend money that way…. you’re wrong, wrong, wrong (and sometimes we’ll throw things like tantrums and grenades to try to get our way).
‘creating culture’ looks like saying ‘yes’. Yes… I’m going to try living like this…. try thinking about life this way… do you want to join me in using money like this? what if art means something like this?

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Change or create?

  1. I was a part of the conversation over there for a little bit. Good discussion.

    I agree with Todd that the context was completely lost for any of us that didn’t hear it in person. But, it was good to see that phrase from all the angles that were brought up.

    I like what you’ve said. If we can set aside any “definitions” of culture then we can really get to heart and intent.

    How will people change…only when we show them who they need to be. And to press on with that thought, they do NOT need to be like us…they need to be like Jesus.

    I like that you’ve highlighted the “no” versus the “yes”. It seems that Christians so often are in the “no” or “against” camp.

    We can’t show them Jesus by what He isn’t. We have to show people Jesus by modeling who He is.

    When we are faithful to be like Him, then He can truly affect everything around us and “culture” is changed.

  2. you’re right, todd, it is difficult to interpret without more context. This came out of a discussion of what’s around the corner for the Church. A few more key ideas:
    – the church should be involved at the point where culture is created, rather than standing downstream being angry at it.
    – the early church was ‘provocative’… using the markers of their culture (Caesar’s propaganda, etc) to proclaim the full truth of the gospel
    – the church can’t be all about what happens ‘at church’. that creates a dichotomy for people where church isn’t related to ‘real life’. the task of the church is to go out and create the culture of the world, not react to it.

    Maybe that helps…maybe it’s worse.

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