By: Amilee Watkins
How should Christians relate to the culture around us? Should we withdraw from it in ways that will guard our purity? Or should we cozy up to it in ways that are winsome, in hopes of portraying the God whom we know and love as attractive and good? Should we focus on the good in our culture or draw attention to the bad? And, in fact, as we go about our daily lives and the work in which we are engaged, do we fully realize that we are contributing to the culture of the world around us, for better or for worse?
Most of our waking hours are spent doing some type of work—whether it be making strategic decisions in the board room, performing on a stage, raising children, or adding up numbers in an Excel doc. In all of these tasks we have the ability to create or shape culture. Tim Keller has written, “When Christians work in the world, they will either assimilate into the culture and support the status quo or they will be agents of change. This is especially true in the area of work. Every culture works on the basis of a map of what is considered most important. If God and his grace are not at the center of a culture, then other things will be substituted as ultimate values. So every vocational field is distorted by idolatry.”
To help prepare the Redeemer community for effective engagement with the culture of NYC, the Center for Faith & Work is hosting a monthly Gospel & Culture lecture series to address how the gospel gives purpose and meaning to our work and how the motivations of our hearts affect our service in the world. What must Christians be like in order to counter the sentiment expressed so well by Dorothy Sayers in the mid-1900s that still bears weight today?
“In nothing has the Church so lost her hold on reality as in her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments, and is astonished to find that, as a result, the secular work of the world is turned to purely selfish and destructive ends, and that the greater part of the world’s intelligent workers have become irreligious, or at least, uninterested in religion.”
Join us for CFW Sunday on January 30, 2011, starting at 1:00PM in Hunter Auditorium as Tim Keller speaks on Why Work Matters. The lectures continue monthly with speakers who have become thought-leaders in this area of gospel and cultural engagement through their writing, teaching, and work in the world.
- February 27, 2011: ADRIENNE CHAPLIN—Art Matters for God’s Sake
- March 20, 2011: ROBERT GEORGE—Natural Law, God, and Human Dignity
- April 17, 2011: OS GUINNESS—Towards a Christian Renaissance
- May 22, 2011: JAMES K.A. SMITH—Culture as Liturgy
Our hope is that through these events the church will be awakened to the critical role of work in God’s redemptive plan for all of creation and broaden our understanding of the gospel beyond the walls of the church. All lectures start at 1:00PM at Hunter College, Main Auditorium. FREE and open to all.
This series will culminate in our first ever weekend-long Faith & Work Conference: November 4-5, 2011. Save the Date!