Talking about religion, God, or church can be tricky. But if it is the least bit true, it deserves to be talked about, doesn’t it? This is the last in a series of posts on Acts 17 (starting here), and each step along the way we’ve observed the creative and engaging way that Paul tells the story of Jesus. He knew his audience. He was able to speak in their language, using ideas and concepts that were meaningful to them.
When we think about telling the story of Jesus to people in our day, we would do well to follow the example of Paul. What are the cultural touch points that can help us connect with people to share the story of Jesus? For Paul it the was the statue to the unknown god (which I wrote about here) and the Greco-Roman poets (which I wrote about here).
Can you think about any similar touchpoints in our day? I would like to suggest a few I thought of, and I invite you to comment below with your suggestions.
I recently watched the TV Show Devs, and I think it could be a cultural touch point especially for people who are into new TV shows or sci-fi. It is about a CEO of a fictional tech company like Apple or Google or Microsoft, and the CEO lost his young daughter and wife in a car accident. He tries to leverage his wealth and the technological capabilities of his company to deal with his pain. I won’t give away the story, but I will say that some of the main themes of the show are about free will and determinism. Are we humans free or are we slaves to our fate? Can we change our fate? These are deep questions that just might open the door to a conversation about faith. This might be especially true during a worldwide pandemic when many people are wondering if God is in control. What if you start a group that watches a show together and discusses it?
Or given the worldwide protests for racial justice, what if you invite friends to do a book study about it? I highly recommend the podcast Seeing White. That series helped change my views. I’ve listened to the 14 episodes three times through, and each time I learn more. What if you were to ask a group of friends to listen and discuss together? If people prefer reading, the podcast is available in transcript format. Listen or read each episode on your own, and then gather (including a Zoom option) to discuss what you’re learning.
Or what about a hobby you enjoy? I have a pastor friend who loves running, so his story really stuck out to me. He decided to start a running club in his community, trying to make friends with people who like to jog. Tons of people started participating in the club! Do you have a hobby or interest like that? Invite people to join you.
As we seek connections to share the love of Christ, let us remember that people are not projects, and we should treat everyone like living breathing human beings made in the image of God. Equally loved, no matter if people follow Christ or not.
I write this in the early summer of 2020, when church doors are re-opening after three months of quarantine from Covid-19, and there might be a temptation to look inward, but let us instead look outward. Let’s ask God to help us find those cultural touch points that can help us make connections with people to share the amazing story of abundant life and eternal life in Jesus.