Churches tend to talk about “how God is working in our church.” Culture Pubs think about “how God is working in the world.”
This difference is rooted in a differing perspective about God.
Where is God?
The traditional answer is “everywhere.” God is omnipresent. But the way many of us talk it seems we think that God is in the church but not in the world.
The Bible tells us that God set aside a people for Himself. That would be “us.” But we think that because He chose us and set us aside for Him that He also set Himself apart from those who are not “us.” He sets Himself apart from “them.” So, we are set apart because He is set apart — from “them.”
We are the “clean.” They are the “unclean.” God cannot tolerate sin, he cannot be in the presence of evil. That’s why He hangs out with us. He likes us.
But I think that when God sets anybody apart, he sets them apart for others…not against others. He is for and with the ones we call “them.”
He likes them. That’s why he hangs out with them. He gives them words to speak that are truthful and prophetic words. He gives them a sense of the value of life and a sense of morality, honor, duty, forgiveness, redemption and grace. If you don’t think this is true just go to the “secular” movies or listen to “secular” music or read “secular” literature. If you do, you will see, hear and feel these themes running through everything human.
These themes — that are made acute in the Bible - didn’t get out there by accident. They are “out there” because God is “out there.”
“For God so loved the world…”