Sunday, May 28, 2006

Secular And Sacred

Madeleine L'Engle said in her book, Walking on Water, that there is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.

Emerging missional churches embody the desire to remove secular space. For these faith communities, there are no nonspiritual domains of reality. It was said that "secular space is as a bubble in the surround water. It is a place where God has been excluded."

What do you think?

24 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Making a greater connection between church and daily life is one of the reasons I favour churches meeting in homes.

However, I do believe that the Bible makes a distinction between sacred and secular.

1 Corinthians 7
32 ¶ "But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife."

The things of the Lord are here clearly distinguished from the things of the world.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

forgiven said...

Hi Kitty

Nice seeing you

Like DF we are in the world but not part of the world.

Thanks You

Doug

audrey` said...

"Walking On Water"
This is the second consecutive day when I'm reading this phrase.
Is our good Lord telling me something?
HeHe!

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, I didn't know that you favour churches meeting in homes. That's interesting!

Surely the Bible makes a distinct between sacred (things of the Lord) and secular (things of the world), but do you think we can't meet God in the secular space?

By the way, these are interesting verses too. Does that mean it's better to be unmarried?

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi Brother Doug, nice seeing you too :) Of course we are in the world but not of the world. However I believe that we can meet God in the world in our daily mundane life. What do you think?

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi Audrey, maybe our good Lord is telling you to 'walk on water'? Hehe!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Kitty, I suggest you might want to do a short study on Biblical teaching on marriage.

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, a short study on Biblical teaching on marriage is on my to-do list, I do hope to get to it soon :) I am curious of what your opinion is on it though.

God Bless you brother.

K. Jimmy said...

Hi Kitty,
Karen from Maitland NSW here (near newcastle- i found you on rulan's blog and jumped over!)
if i understand you correctly (have just woken up-yawn), i like what you suggest here. i have been involved with YWAM (youth with a mission) for a number of years now, and there is a ministry arm of YWAM called "island breeze" who's aim is pretty much to "redeem culture"- take back what the enemy and the world have made evil or profane, and use those thigns to glorify our maker (most specifically they do this with cultural dance, eg. using the maori haka to tell the story of easter). when i see these guys perform and hear them speak from the heart of God, who's greatest desire is to redeem mankind to himself i think, i get shivers. i believe that God by his grace and power can turn anything around for his glory, to win people back to him.
cant think of references off the top of my head but two verses spring to mind-
"i have become all things to all men that by the grace of God i might save some"; and "all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose". both are from paul- possibly romans?
anyway, this all may be slightly off on a tangent from where you were heading with your thoughts, but i do largely believe that the "evil" we label a lot of things with is only "evil" because evil has been inferred on it (to it? sorry...still too early for cohesive thoughts and correct english...!)
anyway, glad to have found your blog! God bless you sweet sister,
Karen

audrey` said...

Yes, Kitty :)
I've to be more patient and wait upon our Lord.
The phrase came to me once again yesterday.
Take care, dear!

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think the idea of redeeming culture is quite unscriptural. The world is under Satan's control and the things of this world belong to him. This will only change in the kingdom.

With regard to marriage, Paul indicates that it is better to remain single in 1 Cor 7, but in 1 Timothy, his teaching suggests that marriage is the norm and even a duty (he expects elders to be married and wants younger widows to remarry). I do not think New Testament teaching on marriage is as straightforward as most Christians think.

Every Blessing in Christ#

Matthew

Kitty Cheng said...

Karen, thanks for visiting my blog. Wow the YWAM ministry sounds cool to me! May God bless you.

Kitty Cheng said...

Audrey, I also need to be more patient! Let's wait upon our Lord in His strength. God Bless, and love you sis.

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, I think if Jesus could redeemed sinners, he can certainly redeem culture as well. Satan is defeated. Christ is in Victory!

I agree that NT teaching on marriage is quite complicated, and I can say I understand it fully.

K. Jimmy said...

i believe that God created mankind in His image, and that each of us reflects a different aspect of His nature and character. I believe that's true of cultures as well, since culture is merely an outward expression of inner convictions and beliefs. Certainly much of culture is man-made and a distortion of the truth, but i believe the heart of God is to redeem all peoples to himself. Revelation talks of a vision of peoples from every nation, tribe and tongue gathering before the throne of God to worship Him. (revelation 7:9). "tongues" or languages are a part of our cultures; tribal and ethnic divisions or distinctions are part of our cultures. these things were ordained by God to give him glory, it's only that mankind has sinned and "fallen short of God's glory".
anyway, perhaps you have a point about God's plan for this kind of redemption being more for on the other side of eternity. i'll have to think about that more and look into it. but how, then, can you explain that "God has placed eternity in the hearts of men" (ecclesiastes i think)? there are heaps of examples in many cultures of God revealing himself to each particular people group in ways that they understand or are culturally relevent to them. check out don richardson's books, "peace child" and "eternity in their hearts", and also Sosene Le'au's book, "called to honor him".
God bless,
Karen

K. Jimmy said...

ps there's also an excellent book called something like "the discovery of genesis in the chinese alphabet"

Kitty Cheng said...

Hey Karen, I've read Don Richardson's books "Peace Child" and "Eternity in their hearts." Certainly shows that God is into redeeming culture on this side of eternity :)

Kc said...

Sis, I think I fall somewhere in the middle here. I see our responsibility to God is in those things with which we’ve been entrusted. Our homes, our lives, our own manner of work are all in the world but we are not to use it for our own glory, rather to glorify God. Our art, our communication and our culture might consist of things that are identical to those found in the world but we are individually responsible and accountable for how we use them within the world. Those outside of the faith community God will judge but His call is to the individual, not to his culture. The individual is then responsible for transforming his culture by the power of God through faith. The division between sacred and secular will always be apparent because light dispels the darkness but the division is not in the things used, but in the use of the things. If there ceases to be a distinction then it can only be that the darkness has overtaken the light or that Christ has returned and the light has overtaken the darkness.

By my count that is exactly $0.02 cents worth. ;-)

dorsey said...

The dichotomy between sacred and secular is a human construct that has provoked Christians to an isolationist mentality. I think this undermines our mission and hinders our engagement.

My question would be where is the line drawn between the two? We consider music that refers to Christ as Christian music, and music that doesn't as secular music. What about instrumental music. If I, as a Christian, write a song about spending time with a friend at the beach on a carefree summer day, but do not mention Christ, does that make my song secular? Why? Is a chair at City Hall a secular chair, while a chair at the local church is a Christian chair? What makes Christian art Christian? The fact that it's in a Christian bookstore? The contrariety of sacred/secular just doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

Is the church facility really God's house, where He resides? Of course not. But when I had an office there, I once I got chastised for playing "secular" music on my iTunes as I worked. "This is a church!" I was told. I asked the person, "Is it ok if I listen to this music at home, or in my truck? "Of course." was the reply.

Well, is God more present in that building than He is in my Ford Explorer or even the bathroom of my house? Nonsense! God is as present in the biker bar across the tracks as He is in your favorite "Christian" venue. The sooner we realize this, the sooner believers will come out of hiding.

Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, I don't really like the division between sacred and secular, as I can meet God wherever I happen to be. I don't think darkness will overtake the light in the so called 'secular' zone, as long as we followers of Christ are on their turf to share His love.

Thanks for your $0.02 cents worth Kc. ;-) I think it's more than then though haha.

Kitty Cheng said...

Wow Dorsey, I think that one of the reasons why Christianity is no longer relevant is because of this dichotomy between sacred and secular (or as your say an isolationist mentality). I certainly don't think that God is more present inside the walls of our 'church building' than He is in my little Toyota Starlet (when I often listen to so called 'secular pop music' hehe.) Amen! God is as present in the biker bar across the tracks as He is in your favorite "Christian" venue.

You said it soooo well, and I am in total agreement with you there. Thanks for your input! Appreciate it a lot.

Kc said...

Just to be clear I really don't think the separation is found in "things" but rather in the hearts of men. Dorsey asked where would you draw the line? My answer as always is in Christ. Those who are in Christ are in the light and those outside Him are in darkness. They are not in Him but in the world and the contrast is seen in the use of the "things".

Kitty Cheng said...

Kc,I think we are on the same wavelength. Those who are in Christ, when they are in the so called 'secular zone' can certainly shine light in the darkness. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart, so I agree that the motivation behind the use of the "things" is of ulmost importance.

However, the langauge of "in the world" sometimes puzzles me. Would you think being "in the church" is not "in the world"?

Kc said...

Agreed, this is ambiguous. "In" here meaning "a part of" as opposed to a specific location. I suppose "of" the world would be better. ;-)

What is of Christ is sacred and what is of the world is secular.