Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Life: For the Glory of GodMatthew 5:13-16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (vr 16)
Salt serves as a preservative, and similarly, Christians play a role in preserving the positive aspects of culture and society. Moreover, just like salt being a seasoning agent, Christians also have the ability to infuse all aspects of life with the unique flavor of God's values. Salt and light is not to stay in isolation. Christian communities approach engagement with culture in diverse forms. This concept is recently outlined by a Christian sociologist of religion James Davison Hunter in his book, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (2010). Hunter argues that Christians should reconsider their three strategies for influencing and engaging with society.
Relevance as a Dominant Paradigm: Many a times there is a strong emphasis on making Christianity and Christian messages "relevant" to the culture. This often involves adapting or accommodating Christian beliefs and practices to fit more seamlessly with prevailing cultural norms and values. The goal is to make Christianity more appealing and accessible to the broader population where the focus shifts toward meeting the preferences and desires of individuals rather than adhering to biblical principles.
Defence as another paradigm: Hunter criticizes the tendency among some Christian groups and individuals to adopt a defensive posture in response to perceived threats to their faith and values. This defensive posture often involves reacting negatively to cultural changes, opposing secularism, and viewing society as hostile to Christianity.
Withdrawal as another paradigm: In some cases, Christians withdraw from engagement with the broader culture. They may isolate and create chambers where they only interact with like-minded individuals hindering their ability to positively influence society.
Hunter says practicing faithful presence wherever God places us is the calling for Christians today. Faithful presence means that Christians should engage with culture in ways that reflect their beliefs and values but do so with integrity, humility, and a genuine desire to contribute positively to society. When we live such a life, we are salt and light—in the workplace, in our homes, and in our nation reflecting the glory of God.