Economy: Emerging and Engaging

Indigenous faith communities ought to emerge from all this interaction with the host subculture. While it is noble and, indeed, a godly activity for a Christian businessman to run a shoe shop and to try to be Christ to his customers, something is missing if a Christian faith community isn’t part of the equation. The Christian businessperson can engage colleagues, clients, and customers in a discussion of faith questions, but the best hermeneutic of the gospel is a community of Christians living it out.

~Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come, Hendrickson. p. 27.

I remember the sixties. Quite a decade! They even bubbled over into the decade after, presenting the nation with a whole generation of newly minted progressives. We stepped into the seventies wearing “love beads” and smelling of patchouli oil and marijuana. We were loathed for our impropriety and rejected for our impertinence. We figured that was proof enough that we’d thrown off the constraints of the system. Yet, as the decades have come and gone my generation finds itself looking more and more like our parents and grandparents than we ever thought—hoped—we would. God forbid that our children and grandchildren follow in our footsteps!

What’s needed now is a new generation that steps out of the stream and walks according to the tradition of the Christ followers. Such a generation will not emerge as a reaction to the culture (people drive cars, therefore let us walk slowly), rather from a careful consideration of our faith and calling. From a clear understanding of who we are as Christ followers we can respond rather than react to the culture around us. Must we react to materialism by becoming definitively poor? Perhaps not. Perhaps the issue isn’t how much we have, but how we go about having much. Using mammon and serving mammon are different, but crossing the line that separates them is easier than we wish it were.

We are called to new life, but in what way is the life we live so much different from those around us? If the life we have chosen has not blossomed with new fruit—distinctive fruit—we should probably wonder why and set out to bloom afresh.

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