Culture, Gospel and Church

Last week I attended the bi-annual study conference of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Church (wow, our denomination is quite a mouthful!). The topic of the conference was “Culture, Gospel and Church.” Personally, I found the topic itself to be the most encouraging aspect of the conference. In years past it would not have surprised me to hear the topic of “church vs. culture” or “how to resist culture, 10 steps to creating a culturally resistant church” (the list could go on…). Thankfully the starting point for this conference recognized that Christians are “living inside our culture” (emphasis mine). In the past this likely would have read “the culture,” implying an implicit otherness of culture from the church. While churches do create their own culture to some degree, they are also always a part of the culture at large in which they find themselves, and to neglect or completely ignore this basic fact is inexcusable ignorance through which many people in the church are thankfully emerging from. Now, this is not to say that there was not much discussion (as their should be!) on the negative aspects within our culture (materialism anyone?), as a full embrace presents another whole list of dangers as a denial/rejection of culture does. I do think, however, that this simple recognition that Christians, and Mennonite Brethren’s in particular, are a part of culture is an integral starting point to any discussion of culture, gospel and church.

I plan on sharing more this week, so stay tuned…

(My friend Ryan has some good reflections on the conference as well if you are interested)

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