October 8, 2010
Catalyst Day Two: Spectacle and Restoration
Reflections from Atlanta and Gabe Lyons.
Day Two of Catalyst began with the statement:
“It’s impossible to love people and avoid tension at the same time.”
Then, after an amazing spectacle, an audience participation exercise in percussion (think Blue Man Group with 13,000 people beating out the rhythms) and a spectacular demonstration of trampolinists reaching tremendous heights, twisting and flipping even while wearing skis and snowboards, and only after all that, did the speakers unpack the statement about tension.
The most noteworthy of them was Gabe Lyons, coauthor of unChristian and now his latest book, The Next Christians.
He explained that the next generation of Christians are engaging cultural tensions in a whole new way.
The reason for this is because of where we currently find ourselves culturally. Our current realities:
1. In a Postmodern culture, a primary characteristic is skepticism toward certainty. Anyone who communicates with confidence and certainty creates resistance.
2. Culture has become postChristian, where the church is no longer the center of culture. Church is now at the periphery.
3. Ours is a pluralistic setting. Today all faiths are celebrated. A much wider spectrum is included in our conversations. This is the new normal.
Three forms of interaction with culture:
--Separate from that world. “Fight the enemy.” (Theologically, Christians who take this position focus on Fall and Redemption)
--Become like the culture. “Cultural Christians” blend in, becoming indistinguishable from their surrounding culture. (Theologically, their focus is Creation and doing good deeds.)
--Restoration. Pursue being holy and pure in a fallen world, AND restoring culture. (Theologically, this means Fall, Redemption, AND the Restoration of all things--“all things are become new,” the ministry of reconciliation.) These people are not just critics but creators of a new culture. See a role in the bringing of the kingdom of God to earth.
Great opportunity for the church: every person in the church is working in the world. No longer there just to serve the church. Our opportunity is to highlight their work in the world as being on mission for Christ.
Gabe told the story of the arrival of their child who has Down Syndrome. “Sometimes you seek your calling, and sometimes it comes to you,” he said. As they sought to understand their new life with this situation, they learned that 90 percent of pregnancies with a Down Syndrome child were never carried to term. All that these parents could see were expense and complication.
So the Lyons, along with others, developed a book showing through quality photography the richness and beauty that children with Down Syndrome can experience. This book has now been used by OB-GYN’s to explain to those who discover they’re carrying such a baby what this condition means and bringing hope.
Just one beautiful example of restoring culture.