We are supposed to image God and create culture; we are not supposed to image the culture and create God.
The Fall makes us backwards people. Image-bearers are meant to glorify God in all we do ("...whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God..." - 1 Cor 10:31), we were given the mandate to shape the world as God's vice-regents (See Genesis 1:26-28) -- for Christians, "Culture is Not Optional."
But the hard question that must be answered in 21st Century America is this: Is the evangelical church imaging God and creating culture, or are we imaging the culture and shaping God into what we want him to be?
For just one example of this, contemplate what Tom Sine writes:
"How many of us unwittingly have allowed aspirations and values of the imperial global shopping mall define for us what is important and what is of value — what is the 'good life'? Many of us, in spite of our best intentions, allow the economic aspirations of the workplace or the up-scaling impulses of our middle-class lifestyles to take over our lives. As a consequence, we too often trivialize our faith to little more than a devotional add-on to our 'real lives.'" ("Making it Real: How to live as if another world were already here", Sojourners, January 2008)
So, instead of Christians engaged in the culture, seeing our work and our lifestyles as integral parts of our mandate to image God in this world, we allow the consumerism and the economic aspirations of our culture to define us. We listen more to the marketers than to our Lord.
And then, as the ultimate sacrilege, we remake God. He becomes a divine being who's main purpose is to meet our needs or to make us successful. The God of the American upper-middle class evangelical Christian is the God that gives a nice home in the suburbs and an SUV to drive, the God that is more concerned about our "family values" than about poverty or disease or injustice.
There are many, many other examples of how we are not imaging God and creating culture but imaging culture and creating a false God.
What do you see?
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