Influencing Culture

Why we are posting this: This is a fantastic article by Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, on why we need to influence culture and what it looks like to do it. Gabe also tells his story of how he came to see the importance of influencing culture (but in the right way).

Here is the start of the article, and then a link to the whole thing.

I’ve heard it said that you don’t choose the books you read — great books choose you. In some peculiar way, I believe that is what happened in 1999 as I consumed Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey’s, How Now Shall We Live. Never before had I planned to read a six-hundred-page, non-fiction book, but once I devoured the introduction, I couldn’t put it down. On vacation in Mexico, I found myself reading this thick, hardcover, green book by the pool, on the beach, and in my room during every waking moment. My worldview was being challenged and my view of Christian influence was being invigorated. Naturally my wife was wondering what had gotten into me – and with good reason. When was the last time you saw a grown man creating flash cards for something that wasn’t required…on vacation?

Up until that time, I had been wrestling with several questions surrounding the role of my faith in this world. I had no problem grasping the idea of eternal life and the need for personal salvation, but the answers were deficient when it came to how that practically played out during my years on this earth. I had questions like:

What do non-Christians really think about Christians?
Is it really the media’s fault that Christians come across as judgmental, angry and ignorant representatives of Christ?
Why am I embarrassed to call myself a Christian?
Is Christianity in a crisis that no one wants to talk about?

Whenever I asked these questions, I got the same answers. Everywhere I turned, it seemed the same talking points for Christianity slapped me in the face.

“Find God’s will for your life”
“Read your Bible and pray every day”
“Work on your personal relationship with Jesus Christ”
“Be bold and evangelize those around you”
“Jesus is the answer to everything”
“Fight for the sanctity of life and marriage”
“Defend Truth at all costs”

While all of these statements were true, they weren’t answering my questions. They felt more like circular arguments designed to stop me from thinking about my questions. Nobody addressed what to me seemed an obvious problem: Christianity has gained more conversions in America over the last two hundred years than any other faith. Simultaneously, Christianity has steadily lost cultural influence despite its rapid conversion growth.

As I read Colson’s book, for the first time in my life I felt like a Christian had dared to set aside the talking points and “go off message”. Someone else recognized the problems and offered biblical and logical solutions. I began to reconnect to Christian purpose. Colson laid out all of what being a Christian was about. He challenged my worldview and invigorated my view of Christian influence. It felt simple, yet complex, true and historic. I was convinced that everyone I knew needed to read this book. I just knew that if more Christians could grasp this bigger picture, it could change the face of Christianity throughout our nation.

Read the whole thing.

Topics: Christianity & Culture

About the Author

Gabe Lyons is co-author of Good Faith: Being Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme and founder of Q Ideas—a learning community that mobilizes Christians to advance the common good in society. Called “sophisticated and orthodox” by The New York Times, Q represents the perspective of a new generation of Christians.