I’ve been studying two scriptures over and over again. They have become a galvanising force, dictating the things I invest my time in and the subjects I’m passionate about. They are shaping my purpose in life and my concept of what the role of Church in society should be.
Let me share the scriptures with you:
Matthew 5.13-16 (MSG):
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven”.
Ephesians 1.15-23 (MSG):
“That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence”.
In the time the scriptures were written, salt was used as a preservative and not just a seasoning. Meat for example would be completely wrapped in salt to keep it from decaying.
Is the world decaying because the Church fails to encompass the world and direct its affairs? Have we become peripheral to the world, hiding out in the hallowed chambers of physical buildings?
It is my submission that the Church should be thought leaders; defining genres of living, from music to government to culture to art to knowledge to science.
This is not a strange mandate. Our Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ is defined as the Logos by Apostle John. The Logos is found in John 1 (translated Word) and is a Greek concept that predates the time of Jesus’ earthly mission. It means reasoned discourse and organising principle. It is a premise that appeals to an audience’s sense of logic. The Logos always appeals to reason. This is instructive for Christians who assume Christianity cannot appeal to reason or is unintellectual.
As the Word, Jesus is not only presented as the essence of being and universal organising principle, but in a literal sense, he also embodies a message or media. Indeed we are saved by Faith which comes by hearing words. Media is crucial – both the content and platform of distribution.
Christians must participate strongly in media as a matter of priority and mission. I used to think art imitates life but I now know that life imitates art. Media shapes thought and behaviour, creating cultural trends and mass movements. Therefore, the norms and values of a generation closely align with those if the media it consumes. Those who produce media are essentially generational alchemists and creators.
Social media is a very big opportunity for the Church. It is still largely democratic – having the most money does not automatically translate to virality or impact. Content is king.
I believe Christians can dimension the truth in God’s word and his thoughts, philosophies & ideologies into culturally relevant content for social media. This work is huge but it must be done as a matter of urgency. The quality of this generation may well depend on it.
We need Christians to rise up – those who understand media content and distribution & those who can finance it. We need those who will embrace their mandate and engage with the world through media.
May God give wisdom to those who take on the cause. Amen.