“Our stance toward every human culture should be one of critical enjoyment and an appropriate wariness.” (Tim Keller, Center Church)
One of the most insightful things that has helped be in Tim Keller’s writings on faith and culture is that every single culture is always both reflecting the image of God within it, and rejecting it. Because we are created in the Image of God it is a reality that we cannot erase, nor escape. It is a fact that we cannot function without. Being made in the image of God is an inseparable aspect of being human. At the same time, our desire to be our own gods and live our own lives means that we are always running from the fact that we are made in His image.
This leaves every sinner at an inner paradox. He can’t live without, to some extent, reflecting God and his truth in his life. At the same time, he can’t live without rejecting that truth. Every human culture has aspects of true goodness and beauty that is in line with its Creator. Every human culture also has distinct ways that it is rebelling against God. We are always both running to and from truth. We are always both hiding in the shadows, and depending on the light.
This means that, as a christian, as I am tasked with the challenge of sharing the truth with the world, I am tasked with the challenge of looking intently at the culture and learning to see what is going on. Assess the trends. Notice the directions that life around me is changing and evolving. And learn to point to the good things and call them good. At the same time point to the false things and show how they are false. And how the only remedy is found in the one God who has loved us and come into this world to bring us back to himself and make us whole again.