We are surrounded by so much information that comes across our path on a daily basis. We’re influenced by external voices in music, radio, television, and the list goes on. But, how can Christians navigate this?
All of the information that we soak up everyday influences culture. Dan Strange has written a very helpful book Plugged In, which helps Christians think about how they can engage with this culture.
Dan defines culture as “the stories we tell that express meaning about the world.”
Therefore, as Christians who are called to be witnesses to the world that we live in we must understand and know how to engage with culture. This short book will help you process the cultural stories that you hear on a daily basis.
But how exactly can and should we do that?
Dan suggests that we should engage with culture and use it to convey to the world that Christians have a better story to tell. We do this by listening to the stories that culture tells the world and pointing out how such stories cannot bring fulfilment and point them to the only place where fulfilment can be found; in a right relationship with God.
This book helps you with the theory and gives you practical advice on how to engage in sharing the gospel with people in our culture. I absolutely devoured this book because it is such a fun, humorous read but at the same time it challenges you to think and gives you advice on how to practically engage with culture.
The truth is, and Dan puts it so well, that Christians need to persuade people that God’s plan and design is good, he says:
“If we don’t discern, articulate and persuade others with the Bible’s blueprint for the flourishing human life and culture, then other will… and are. And ultimately these alternative stories are all hope-less”
Gospel witness is at its best when it confronts and connects with people. Dan unpacks Acts 17 as the Apostle Paul stands in Athens and preaches in Athens. Paul was distressed to the the vast ocean of idols that covered the city (Acts 17:16), but Paul doesn’t walk away and cast them off as ‘unreachable’.
“Paul is not content to wash his hands of Athens and its inhabitants, leaving them stuck in their idolatry. instead he gets straight into strategic and thought-through evangelism”
How often do we do that?
How often are we distressed at the sight of our idol filled world?
Not enough! If we had a greater love for the lost and a greater love for the Lord then we would be begging people to believe, we would be challenging people’s views and engaging them with the better story of the gospel.
“We’re to have a passion for God’s glory and a passion for lost souls. We’re to be distressed over idolatry and distressed for those who worship them. And this must lead us to speak up in confronting and connecting with culture”
So often people cast off God and Christianity because they think that they know it all, but the reality is that often people have warped views about God that are just wrong. People reject the very One who created and narrated the greatest story ever to be told without actually knowing anything about Him.
Therefore we, as Christians, have a responsibility to share that story with them, to point them to God and to encourage them to repent and believe in Him. For us to do this we need to understand the people we’re engaging with the gospel, we need to understand culture and we need to engage well. This book will help you with that!
At the end of the book Dan gives examples of how his students have used things in culture to engage people with the gospel. I loved these short ‘engagements’ because you go from bird watching to Zombies and from adult colouring books to Japanese toilets. Intrigued much? Buy a copy here and enjoy reading!
This is a great read that will help you engage well with culture, enable you to communicate the gospel in a more engaging way and help you think through the world that we live in.
Daniel Strange is College Director at Oakhill Theological College in London where he lectures on Culture, Religion and Public Theology. Dan is married to Elly and they have seven children. He is an elder at East Finchley Baptist Church, and loves jazz music and West Ham football club.