I am going through a series of studies with a student on how to stay Free. To stay Free from Sin and to stay Free in the Gospel. It is a good reminder on many levels.
One of the sessions was on staying in the world. The temptation as a Christian is to try to seperate from the world, thinking that our christian bubble is Holy and that the secular world in unclean. But Jesus makes amazing claims that actually its not what is outside us that is unclean, but its the heart that vomits up all unclean things (Mark 7). This puts a twist to things - what does that mean for us as Christians?
We are called to be in the world but not of it, not following the fleeting desires of the world, not laying up treasures on earth. And yet here we are in the world and there are some good things here. If we believe what Jesus said to be true then we know that the things outside of us are not unclean - the food we eat, the music we listen to, films, books, sex, drink, relationships, clubbing etc... God created them and they are good. However as Christians we tend not to mix with the secular culture - so instead we take all these things and place them into a Christian Sub culture, we take secular music, films, books etc and stamp Jesus on them claiming them to be Holy and Christian. However I think we are missing the point!!
Is there anything wrong with enjoying good music, films, books in secular culture? I don't think there is - I think we can engage with it and use it to bring about questions, to make us think and to enjoy! There are some great athiest writers out there which we can enjoy. Remember that things outside the heart are not unclean!!
The difference is that we need to stay in the world with the Gospel and live changed lives in it. People will notice. They will notice that you enjoy the same music, engaging with it and yet not compromising on what God has called you to be - Holy and Blaimless. Being in the world means engaging with our culture with what is there and with the Gospel, it doesn't mean we go out and get drunk and have sex with as many partners as possible. It means we live Gospel lives and still enjoy the things God has created, even if it doesn't have the Christian stamp on it.
The source of sin as Jesus says in Mark 7:14-27 is our hearts. Out of our hearts is filth in which we distort the good things that God gives us. What Jesus says should prepel us to repent and turn to the Gospel, so that we may live by Grace and not by rules. So that we may view things as not bad or unclean, but realise its out of hearts that makes things unclean.
If we want to engage with our culture and understand their perspective so that we may bring the Gospel to them and show them that their life without Jesus is not satisfying. Then we need to get out of our Christian bubbble and stay in the world living Gospel lives.