"After the time spent discussing political issues yesterday, you asked something along the lines of, 'How come we can talk for hours on end about things like politics (anything in general), but we can't seem to do the same thing with the Bible?' I remember that after a couple of comments were offered, you said part of it has to do with our misconception of authority––people have the tendency of letting the teachers do all the talking while they just listen. . . . An obvious answer to your question, though nobody said it, is that people have no interest in talking about the Bible and can get away with it, under the pretense of your offered answer as to why people don't discuss. . . . Either way both reasons are problematic . . . . I'm so glad you asked the question because it's definitely something I have to reflect on . . . a lot!"Great email! I wrote back this morning. Here's part of my response:
"You raise an interesting point in your answer to the question. We often assume that people read and study the Bible. But that’s a pretty baseless assumption. People tend to discuss and engage in conversations about topics in which they are interested and personally versed. That explains why people can talk for hours on end from topics like Harry Potter and Star Wars to Trump and immigration. I have an interesting twist to your answer that I thought of this morning. Think about this. You can become pretty familiar with things like Harry Potter and Star Wars and all sorts of political issues (especially during an election season) without having to exert really the slightest bit of personal effort. Society feeds this information to everyone. It’s almost impossible to avoid it. And so, whether a person tries to or not, they are cognizant of and generally interested in the culture in which they live—obviously with varying degrees of knowledge and interest. Exposure to biblical and theological matters and issues is not as passive as exposure to culture. We live in culture. The only way, I suppose, to make discussing these matters have the same freedom, openness, and engagement as we do with cultural matters—again, I suppose—is to live in the world of the Bible and theology . . . And not as a standoffish fanatic or weirdo, but rather as one who winsomely lives in both worlds, wanting to be changed by one and wanting to be used to change the other."And which world ought to be changing us? ––The world of Scripture. And which one should we seek to change, influence, and leverage our lives to have the maximum possible impact? ––Our society and culture.
Again, great email. The truth is there are varied and many reasons as to why groups find it easier to talk culture than talk gospel. There's no one-size-fits-all answer. One thing we definitely need to remember is our capacity to influence our society in a way that honors and pleases Christ hinges really on whether or not we have a real, personal commitment to having the Scriptures in a place where they can transform the way we think and ultimately the way we live.