On Sunday and Wednesday nights our students are diving in to the question “What does it mean to be human?” In the midst of a culture that seems only to be concerned with the self, we are issuing a call to our students to leave the bankrupt philosophy of “be true to yourself” for the gracious call of Christ to “follow me.” But how do we face the assumptions of such a pervasive cultural narrative with the claims of Christ?
The problem with trying to combat the assumptions of our culture is that these aren’t messages we are asked to consider and make decisions about. Our culture doesn’t have a weekly meeting in which a cultural pastor stands up & preaches from the book of America and calls on us at the end to respond. Our culture doesn’t give us the choice. It simply assumes our values for us. We are surrounded by constant themes day in and day out in our media, through the advertising industry, and in the narratives of our world. The bravest thing one can do, we are told over and over again, is to find the deepest self and be true to it no matter what the world around you, and especially the authorities in your life, say. After all, you deserve it.
This is the thinking behind the phrases we so easily assume, statements like “Be true to yourself,” and “Follow your heart,” and “Nobody has the right to tell anybody else how to live their life.” When faced with these ideas outright, we might be quick of wit enough to say “Hold on a minute, that’s not quite true.” But when surrounded by it, when these things are simply assumed, they become the unconscious norms by which we operate. It’s not a decision. It’s simply an assumption.
We need to be a people more aware of the influences of our culture. We need to set the assumptions of the world up against the teachings of Scripture and show where the culture is lacking and where our faith is so much stronger. That’s exactly what we are doing with our youth.
The world says, “Be true to yourself.” Jesus says, “Crucify yourself.” The world says, “You should follow your heart.” Jesus says, “Come follow me.” The world says, “Do what makes you happy.” God says, “Delight yourself in the Lord.” The world says, “Nobody has the right to tell anyone else how to live their life.” Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”
Want to hear more? We’re going to be talking about how this affects our understanding of what it means to be human and how we find meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, morality, and hope in Christ. His ways are so much better than ours.
To listen to our discussions, you can go to the youth website, youth.jesupfbc.org, and click on “Service Podcasts.”
Soli Deo Gloria!