The Mustard Seed
Dare To Be Different
Back in the Stone Age when I was growing up, the word counterculture was applied to hippies, LSD advocates, and peaceniks. The term "counterculture" describes a social trend that goes against (counter to) the majority culture.
In America's past, a Christian worldview was evident in the culture. But at important times in our history, when aspects of the culture (like slavery) radically strayed from Christian principles, followers of Christ became counterculture. They organized and worked to correct the culture's error. (The abolitionist movement that eventually led to the end of slavery in America was ignited by the founders of Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1830s.)
Then during the last half of the 20th Century faith in Christ and Christian social norms gradually faded from America's cultural memory. Today dominant forces in our culture, both secular and religious, are actively working to ban any public expression of Christian thought and suppress Christian influence in society. So we who follow Christ have again become counterculture.
What we experience today is not new. Nearly 2,000 years ago in the Roman Empire, Christians were a persecuted minority. Pledging allegiance to Christ was an act of political treason. Faith in Christ was religious heresy, punishable by death.
In that context, Christ's Apostles have encouraged us to stand firm for Him. They remind us to live our lives with a consistent integrity that honors Him and earns the respect of those who disagree with us.
Saint Peter wrote: If you are trying hard to do good, no one can really hurt you. But even if you suffer for doing right, you are blessed. But respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed. It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong if that is what God wants. Christ himself suffered for sins once. He was not guilty, but he suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:13-18 NCV. Also read Revelation 2 - 3.)
The ways of Christ are not only counter to our culture; divine wisdom often defies common sense, because sometimes common sense is wrong. We have already learned that truth in the natural world of science. For thousands of years common sense said that the earth is flat, the sun and stars orbit the earth, and large heavy objects fall faster than small objects -- all false. So it should be no surprise to discover a contradiction between truth and human wisdom in the way we live our lives. King Solomon said, "There is a way that appears to be right. But in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12 NIRV) However, "The teaching of wise people is like a fountain that gives life. It turns those who listen to it away from the jaws of death." (Proverbs 13:14 NIRV)
In upcoming issues of The Mustard Seed we will look at some of those contradictions between truth and human wisdom. Our primary source material will be Jesus' own words from Matthew 5. The common thread in His teaching is the way Jesus introduced each contradiction: "You have heard that it was said [i.e. the culture says]... But I say to you..." With His guidance, we can dare to be different.
To view live Signed Sunday morning worship, click here
You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Silver Spring
a couple blocks south of the Metro Red Line Forest Glen Station
Sunday Worship: 9:30AM
in Ely 118.
Drop in and introduce yourself!!
Pastor Ron Friedrich