One of the passages I read this morning came from 2 Corinthians 6:17 which says, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.” This is a scripture that the Amish use to identify with and undergirds their culture, society, and religious beliefs. This is always a struggle for us as Christians. We are in the world but not “of the world,” as Jesus said. I keep thinking about how we engage in the culture today – can we be relevant but hold on to doctrinal truths. The church and state issue has been difficult from the beginning. It seems that there is real danger in culture and political activism taking over if we are not careful.
What cultural trends do we see in the church today? Entertainment, politics, marketing, and even the cult of personality with some mega church pastors and TV personalities. How can discipleship look different in a media age? What practices are you using to remain true to your personal calling. Withdrawing or “being apart,” is a radical escapism from only some elements of society. There are Amish settlements not far from me and modernity creeps in for them as well. Buggies and bicycles dominate but they will hop a bus or a van driven by someone to visit relatives or go shopping. Being apart only goes so far – whatever the Bishop approves is ok.
One of the things that I want to really focus on in the upcoming pilgrimage to Israel is to think about how faith in the modern world can be relevant. Disciples need to develop disciplines of the faith to stay strong and live out beliefs. We are not called to mouth our religion – we are called to live our faith. What will you do today to live it out? Will you share Jesus with someone? Will you care for the poor in some way? How about clothing the naked? Will you care for someone imprisoned by doubt, fear, drugs, or even incarceration? What about someone who mourns – will you visit them or tell them you care? Your devotional life includes the Beatitude Life as well. We think and act. “Ora et labora” we pray and work as the Benedictines would say.