We are called to be different than the world. But the world in which we live is dramatically different than the world in which Jesus walked. But God is at work, and that work is visible in the cycle of redemption.
The movement and flow of daily life have presented us with opportunities and challenges, and the systems beyond that seem to grow and expand, even though we are unaware of their existence. But if these systems are broken, how can we respond with a gospel that was given to a small, close-knit community?
God’s System for Change
The good news is that there is a system behind these systems, a Redemptive Cycle, which does move us from culture to community. We still need that small, close-knit community, and the changing circumstances that affect our systems have not changed that.
Instead, we can map those circumstances onto this larger system to understand. Then we can see where we are and recognize the points at which moving to community is possible and necessary.
Understanding the Redemptive Cycle helps us recognize and encourage healthy cultures. These cultures in turn give birth to genuine community. It also helps us see where culture is serving community, and where culture is causing harm.
And, perhaps more urgently, it helps diagnose some of the particularly vexing problems we are facing in our present circumstances, and to know how to better align ourselves with God’s redemptive work.
The Cycle of Redemption
We have now moved into the realm of faith. These are the things that we cannot necessarily define or prove, but that we still believe are true. This is true with the history of culture and community.
And in the same way, we pay a great deal of attention to the differences and similarities of various faiths. But the basic definition of faith is to hold as true something that cannot be proven.
I am writing from within the Christian faith. That is both descriptive of what I personally believe, and the system of faith that has had the greatest influence on western civilization. In many ways, in this conversation, we cannot avoid that system of faith.
And I will be the first to admit that I, and those who share this faith, have contributed significantly to this undiagnosed problem. So I believe we have a responsibility, and an opportunity to contribute to the unidentified solution.