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Engaging Culture with Humility: Dr. Bock on Christian Love and Politics | POD 028

Engaging Culture with Humility: Dr. Bock on Christian Love and Politics | POD 028

WATCH

HOSTS & GUESTS

Dr. Darrell Bock – Guest

Paul Brandes – Co-Host

Bill Gorman – Co-Host

 

Show Notes

Engaging Culture with Humility: Dr. Bock on Christian Love and Politics

How do Christians navigate the complex arena of cultural engagement with grace and truth in today’s polarized society? In this episode of theFormed.life, Dr. Darrell Bock shares his insights on reconciling the tenets of faith with the demands of compassionate societal governance. We’ll explore the virtues of humility and respect in our interactions, and the importance of distinguishing between those who pose a threat and those who contribute positively to our communities. Join us for a discussion that aims to equip believers with the tools for thoughtful, effective, and loving cultural engagement.

 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  1. A compassionate, respectful approach to cultural engagement in a world of hostility and dogma, simply listening well without interjecting can win trust for a more fruitful conversation.
  2. Living out an authentic Christian faith that is positively engaging, inviting dialogue with humility and love rather than operating from a position of fear.
  3. The importance of listening to and understanding diverse cultural dynamics to foster meaningful, gospel-centered conversations within society.

#CulturalEngagement #CompassionateImmigration #ChristianLove #SpiritualDisciplines #EvangelicalismToday #RespectfulDialogue #LivingFaith #GospelHope #DrDarrellBock #theFormedLifePodcast

 

RESOURCES:

Cultural Intelligence: Living for God in a Diverse, Pluralistic World – Dr. Darrell L. Bock

Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels – Dr. Darrell L. Bock

Recovering the Real Lost Gospel: Reclaiming the Gospel as Good News – Dr. Darrell L. Bock

 

GUEST BIOS:

Dr. Bock has earned recognition as a Humboldt Scholar (Tübingen University in Germany), is the author of over 40 books, including well-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus, and work in cultural engagement as host of the seminary’s Table Podcasts. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) from 2000 to 2001, served as a consulting editor for Christianity Today, and serves on the boards of Wheaton College and Chosen People Ministries. His articles appear in leading publications. He is often an expert for the media on NT issues. Dr. Bock has been a New York Times best-selling author in nonfiction; serves as a staff consultant for Bent Tree Fellowship Church in Carrollton, TX; and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas. When traveling overseas, he will tune into the current game involving his favorite teams from Houston—live—even in the wee hours of the morning. Married for over 40 years to Sally, he is a proud father of two daughters and a son and is also a grandfather.

 

QUOTES:

“…cultural intelligence is how to walk into that mix and how to interact well with that mix. The real key in the book is talking about becoming a good listener and engaging with people in a way in which your concerns and, in some cases, your agenda might need to be set aside for a while just to establish the relational connection you need in order to have the challenging conversations that inevitably come up because the the plate tectonics are rubbing against each other and pressure could be building.” — Dr. Darrell Bock

 

“I’m talking about films that are made that really ask live questions and what people are struggling with and wrestling with. And if you keep your ear close to the ground, you can see that they’re wrestling with the value of family or the importance of legacy or the importance of test, there are values that pop up, because even though, you know, theology says we’re totally deprived, it doesn’t mean that we’re we’re as bad as we could be. It just means that we’re that we’re messed up, that it’s not aligned, that it’s dysfunctional. But there are some things about who we are in our instincts that actually reflect having been made in the image of God and being responsive to people. And you’re looking for those kinds of things.” — Dr. Darrell Bock

 

“But in the end, if you don’t have something positive or something aspirational to move the person towards that takes them towards the gospel and the good news, all you’ve done is critique them.”— Dr. Darrell Bock

 

CHAPTERS:

00:00 Christians and cultural engagement in today’s world.

05:01 Understanding and engaging with diverse cultures.

09:54 Living out gospel, sharing hope with respect.

14:04 Christians should engage with cultural intelligence intentionally.

15:24 Understanding others requires a spiritual GPS reading.

19:49 Entertainment can ask live, important questions.

21:55 Promoting hope and goodness in Christianity’s message.

25:16 Reflect on election impact, advice to pastors and individuals.

28:18 Political polarization undermines meaningful value-based conversations.

31:24 Bible references to compassion, society’s right to decide.

A Quiet Catalyst in the Arts

A Quiet Catalyst in the Arts

A Quiet Catalyst in the Arts

Christ Community has always been intentional about its mission and discipleship. A few years ago we began to think about how to be a more intentional influence on the culture of our communities and the world. What would it look like if we didn’t just observe culture but participated in its cultivation? What if, rather than critiquing or vilifying it, we became active participants; in redeeming it and creating redemptive work that influenced it?

Part of this shift in our thinking led us to the arts. We began to imagine using our creativity and talents to positively impact the world. We wanted to create art that was beautiful, thought-provoking, and redemptive.

What would it look like if we didn’t just observe culture but participated in its cultivation?

The Power in Art

Arts have the power to transform individuals and communities, and we were brazen enough to believe that we could impact the artistic culture in our city and around the world. Art can help us see the world in new ways, to understand each other better, and to connect with our shared humanity. 

We began to imagine using our own creativity and talents to create art that was not only beautiful, but thought-provoking and redemptive, and encouraging one another to embrace works of art and the artists who create them. The arts could be a powerful tool to actively engage and  steward the gifts of our congregants to influence the world for the glory of God by supporting artists, performance organizations, scholarship programs, and missional partnerships.

Looking at how far we have come in the past few years, I am grateful to see the fruit of those conversations. 

Serving the Artistic Community

The Four Chapter Gallery is a prime example of how we are putting these conversations into action. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the gallery is a beautiful space in the Crossroads District that serves Kansas City’s thriving artistic community. With regular gallery hours and a rotating selection of art installations, it has become a beloved presence in the city, especially on First Fridays.

More than just a space to exhibit art, the Four Chapter Gallery is also a community hub where artists come together for encouragement, collaboration, and deep conversation. Under the leadership of curator Kelly Kruse, the gallery is helping to support a new generation of artists who are creatively renewing the world alongside God through the act of generative creation.

A Storytelling Mission

Inspired by a similar mission, two other Christ Community congregants set off on a venture to engage the arts by creating movies that make a difference. Stephen and Mary Pruitt, an economics professor, and an up-until-then stay-at-home mom, focused on crafting beautiful art through the visual storytelling medium of film. Despite having no prior filmmaking experience, the Pruitts set out to make movies that would shape imaginations and spark better conversations. Fifteen years later, their fifth full-length feature film, State of Grace, is making the rounds at film festivals around the country, including two highly acclaimed festivals in Los Angeles and New York City, along with a Kansas City premiere at the Glenwood Arts Theatre (coming October 13-15, 2023).

State of Grace is a timely and beautiful film about a young mother who loses control of her life and the custody of her one-year-old daughter, Grace, due to a growing addiction to fentanyl. Inspired by actual events, it is a deeply moving film about the power of community and the price of love. Another example of how Christ Community is quietly encouraging artists to create art that sparks meaningful conversations. 

Consider Engaging

Creativity is taking place all around us in closer proximity than you could imagine, and supporting the growing impact of Christ Community in the arts is as simple as taking the time to view exhibits and shows being presented. In a world filled with endless entertainment options, it is easy for artists to wonder if they are just adding to the noise. One of the best ways we can support the arts in our community is by taking the time to notice and appreciate this continued creation. Engaging locally, relationally, and intentionally moves this mission forward. And when we are relationally connected to the artists who created the work, we view and respond to it differently. 

In a world filled with endless entertainment options, it is easy for artists to wonder if they are just adding to the noise. One of the best ways we can support the arts in our community is by taking the time to notice and appreciate this continued creation.

Join Christ Community in our mission to engage in the arts and influence culture. Start by supporting the opportunities for engagement right around you. Two ideas for this month include visiting First Friday at the Four Chapter Gallery and seeing State of Grace at the Glenwood. Maybe next month attend an art festival in the community, find an artist whose work resonates with you, and start a conversation. 

 

How to Rediscover Lost Values with MLK

How to Rediscover Lost Values with MLK

One of my personal traditions is to listen to my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr speech each year on MLK weekend. While not as popular as “I Have a Dream” or “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” my favorite speech, entitled “Rediscovering Lost Values,” embodies the compelling moral vision of King and the broader African-American church that we celebrate each year on MLK day. This speech was actually a sermon delivered at Detroit’s Second Baptist Church before the Montgomery bus boycott that elevated him to a national stage. It reminds us that before King became the renowned activist and public persona, he was a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was his deep faith commitments of the latter that propelled him to become the former. The sermon’s correct diagnosis and searing critique of modern western culture’s moral relativism, in both theory and practice, is as relevant today in 2023 as it was in 1954.

King begins by asserting that, as modern people, “the means by which we live, have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live.” The profound problems we face in our world today cannot be solved by more information or more economic resources, both of which we have more of today than any society in human history. No, the problem lies within the hearts and souls of human beings and results from leaving behind the value of there being a God-given moral fabric to our universe. King likens this to the story of Joseph and Mary accidentally leaving behind Jesus as a boy in Jerusalem while returning to Nazareth (Luke 2:41-52). If we are to move forward as a society, we must go back to rediscover these foundational spiritual and moral values.

The problem is that we have forgotten that God created our universe with moral laws every bit as true as physical laws. Even if you don’t understand Newtonian physics, you know that if you jump off a tall building the law of gravity means that you will fall to the ground and die. Certain things are right and certain things are wrong, in every time, place, and culture, precisely because God made it so… 

It’s wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong! It’s wrong in America, it’s wrong in Germany, it’s wrong in Russia, it’s wrong in China! It was wrong in two thousand BC, and it’s wrong in nineteen fifty-four AD! It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong! It’s wrong to throw our lives away in riotous living. No matter if everybody in Detroit is doing it. It’s wrong! It always will be wrong! And it always has been wrong. It’s wrong in every age, and it’s wrong in every nation. Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. 

Yet, King points out, we think we can disobey God’s moral laws and not face the consequences. He says that we live by an 11th commandment that supersedes the other 10… “Thou shalt not get caught.” You can break any command you want, so long as you don’t get caught and face negative consequences for it. We have deceived ourselves and forgotten the biblical truth that “You shall reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7). This is the result of forgetting the moral foundation of the universe, and the God who upholds it.

At this point you may be amening just like the congregation at Detroit Second Baptist back in 1954. This is when King shifts the focus from our broader culture to the church. He observes that even believers can unintentionally forget God and leave him behind, just like Jesus’ parents accidentally forgot him back in Jerusalem on their way back to Nazareth. It is easy for Christians to “pay lip service to God and not life service.” We create false gods out of materialism or political ideologies that affirm us and how we want to live, and we use those idols to distract ourselves from the real God of Scripture who places moral demands on us and holds us accountable. 

All too often, Christians are passionate about either personal holiness or communal justice, while neglecting the other. King and others in the African-American Christian tradition show us there is a strong moral foundation that should lead to both. There is much the broader church can learn from them. We should seek to know the God who created this moral universe, and follow him by his grace.

This MLK weekend, I encourage you to take some time to read or listen to one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons. Let’s remind ourselves of the moral foundation of God’s created order, and how we follow the God who upholds it.

 

More Resources:

Rediscovering Lost Values