DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Where is the Salt?

Written by: on February 23, 2017

Summary:
A Secular Age by Charles Taylor is an exhaustive and narrative insight on what “secular” is and how we as people and planet got here. The unique mix of academic and story offers the reader a map of sorts which navigates the reader on a journey of how we became a secular society and world. The time frame that Taylor navigates is the mid-centuries of approximately 1500 through to the 21st century. This book is as much a history of humanity over the last five hundred plus years as it is a commentary on secularism. The essence of Taylor’s observation of the secularization of our is the following. Five hundred years ago, it would be near impossible to find a person or people group that did not believe in God and his place in the world. Today it is the opposite. We live in a world that not only rejects God and the concept of deity, but also lives in a way that does more than merely doubt God’s existence, it lives in a way where the concept of God is impossible to believe.

Analysis:
Wow, what a book. Taylor and last week’s How (Not) To Be Secular Reading Charles Taylor by James K.A. Smith have been a revolutionarily eye opening experience for me. It has caused me to question how we missed this as church, what can we do to “change the course”, and even to evaluate my life’s work and ministry. I was raise in an era of time that question the preceding generation’s commitment to sustainable change and keeping of values of a Christian church and community. We asked who in the church was asleep at the wheel when prayer was taken out of school? Where was the church on pivotal decisions such as the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade? What was the church thinking with PTL, Jim Bakker, and Jimmy Swaggart? Our response was a more divided and withdrawn church, with the rise of the Moral Majority, Contemporary Christian Music, “Christian” television satellite networks, and so many “separate” entities. So how is that working for us? After reading Taylor and Smith, not well. We as a church have become more isolated from the world in order to preserve ourselves, in do so we have lost the ability to preserve the world in which we live. According to the words of Jesus found in Matthew’s gospel: we have lost out saltiness. And what good are we, except to be discarded because we have lost our reason for being, salt of the world.

My question then is: how do we as a church become salty? How do we “be” the light that Jesus desired and gave His life for us not to become, but to “be”? I do not have many or any answers, but I am on a journey. Do we leave our posts in the leading the local church and immerse ourselves in secular environments and institutions? The problem with this, is that we see little success scripturally in Paul’s life and experience at Mars Hill. The other reality is that although institutions can go “dark” very quickly they tend not to go “light” as expeditiously. Can we make the “church” as an institution change quickly or revamp her image? If Taylor is correct and our world does not merely reject God but rather lives with no reality or acknowledgement of Him, then we as the church institutional cannot change the world with a concept that the world does not merely reject but does not accept its reality.

So what is the answer? In short, I do not know. I am not discouraged, but determined, because I know the church and God’s people will prevail. My only thought goes back to how this concept of the church began. It was with one, Jesus, who recruited and invested into twelve disciples, who in turn changed the world not institutionally but relationally. The world is changed one life at a time. Maybe discipleship not a concept to “keep” the found, but to “find” the lost. Maybe transformation takes place in circles, not rows. I do not know, but I am determined.

About the Author

Aaron Cole

30 responses to “Where is the Salt?”

  1. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Aaron:
    These two books were a strong challenge to the church to wake up. I’m in agreement that I am not discouraged but wondering what are the next steps?

    You recounted so many areas of the modern church that would scream “progress” but have possibly left us emptied and even more secular. After our reading this semester; Noll stressing the creeds and Garner and Campbell challenging us with balanced technology, what do you feel are 1 or 2 possibilities to propel the Gospel? How can we “be” Matthew 28:19 in 2017?

    Phil

    • Aaron Cole says:

      Phil,

      I honestly am not sure. That’s my struggle, but I think it is one that has to be answered in order to move forward. Some ideas are as follows:
      Create financial margin to make the church sustainable against swings of society

      Focus on activiation of attendees in small groups and minsitry – relational connection key

      Keep buildings minimum and simple to allow for max flexiblity.

      Stimulate intellectual growth and thought in Bible college students – in order to equip the saints for work of ministry in the marketplace

      Think – reflexive, sustainable, simple, relational

  2. mm Garfield Harvey says:

    Aaron,
    Great blog. I was speaking with my pastor about how the challenge you post about the church leaving their “post.” In this technological world, I realized the most acceptable and global “churchy” terms are not even defined on the internet. For e.g. sin and righteousness are defined as a moral behavior, but our sermons in church speak about heaven and hell. We automatically assume that the world is engaged but in reality, they are responding based on the information available. We often think that the mission field is in another country but we might have to take Jesus’ approach of sending people out into the local church community more often because we won’t reach people by creating an attractive welcome team at the church. Should we “all” leave our posts? No, but we can do more sending into the community.

    Garfield

  3. mm Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Aaron C.
    Your blog was very interesting! However, your question, about, “My question then is: how do we as a church become salty? How do we “be” the light that Jesus desired and gave His life for us not to become, but to “be”?’
    The church must know Salt functions … as a preservative, salt is necessary for flavor, salt is white, symbolizing purity, salt also was used as a fertilizer, salt causes people to become thirsty. Just as salt is known for its saltiness, light is known for its shining, and this shining is not optional. If we are Christians, shining is our business–our only business–in the world

    Salt functions as a preservative. It is an antiseptic which performs the negative function of preventing spoiling meat from becoming even more rotten and corrupt. In tropical countries where there is no refrigeration, people rub salt into meat to keep it from going bad. In the same way, when Christians come in close contact with the sinful people of the world, the world is kept from progressing further into unspeakable foulness. Christians benefit secular society. Without their presence, the world would degenerate at an even faster rate. As a moral antiseptic, Christians keep the corruption of society at bay by opposing moral decay by their lives and their words.

    The question should be, “Are we functioning as salt in our society?” Are we causing people to thirst for Jesus Christ? In John 7:37, Jesus declared at the Feast, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” It is the church’s business to produce in the hearts of unbelievers’ great thirst for Jesus Christ. In order to do that we must understand the functions of salt then we will know that we are the salt of the earth.
    That was a great question!
    Rose Maria

  4. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Aaron C,

    You wrote, “We as a church have become more isolated from the world in order to preserve ourselves, in do so we have lost the ability to preserve the world in which we live.”

    I see the emerging generation of Christian leaders displaying a passion for Jeremiah 29 and a Biblical social justice that reverses this trend. This group is trying (in the words/book title of Rebecca Manley Pippert “Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World) to get the Church back into the world.

    You asked a profound question about us leaving our posts in order to immerse ourselves in secular environments.

    What if our (new) call is to be change agents within the church? Can you offer two or three steps to take as a pastor to begin leading your church back into an engagement in the world? The steps do not need to be big.

    • Aaron Cole says:

      Marc,

      Great question! Being a change agent in the church, that is a thought. I have always desired to take the church OUT – Great Commission. But you are right, maybe the action must be counterintuitive- we must go in. Wow, Marc I will have to give that some thought. The only ways I know to change internally would be through Pastor on Pastor coaching and developing; denominational reform; or education – next generational.

      Aaron

  5. Pablo Morales says:

    Aaron,
    It is good to think out loud and give us a window into your mind as you react to the book. As you, I found the books insightful; they have lots of food for thought. Allow me to also think out loud as I write my response to your blog. I was intrigued with how many times you refer to the church as an institution. While I am not implying that it is wrong to call the church an institution, I wonder how much of the answer to the problem you described is found in the very fact that we have made the church more an institution than a community. Maybe in our current stage of the Age of Authenticity, people hunger more for community rather than institutions. As I said, I am just thinking out loud.
    Pablo

  6. Claire Appiah says:

    Aaron,
    Thanks for these great questions we all have to ponder from time to time and answer honestly and objectively. We must first start with how we personally relate to the world before we contemplate the proper response for the Body of Christ as a whole. For the church to regain its saltiness, the church has to follow the ministry template Jesus provided for them. It is essential that the church does not remain isolated from the world. The church must be visible, must be caring and relational is terms of seeking the lost. The church must intentionally seek to be a dynamic force, an agent of change and spiritual transformation in the world. To answer your question—the salt is in you. The salt is in me. The saltiness comes from all believers who are filled with the Spirit of Christ.

  7. Jason KENNEDY says:

    AC,
    Great blog. I too am wrestling with these questions. How do we be a church that makes an impact? Where should our church be pointed? No answers. Just prayerful meditation.

  8. Aaron,

    I am determined with you that discipleship one person at a time is still the answer. In the middle of this secular age it is the only course of action that I have seen modelled and repeated.

    So in looking at discipleship for the next generation, how does this work in your church today? Can you lead this change? Is it one on one for you or is it just from the stage? Starbucks?

    Kevin

  9. Ah, push it!
    Why did that phrase keep coming into my head as I read your blog?
    How much do you think as pastors in America we live in the immanent frame of various political agendas as opposed to the kingdom of Jesus?

  10. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  11. Applied Communications is proudly powered by WordPress MU running on EduSocial.
    Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

  12. agario games says:

    Aaron:
    These two books were a strong challenge to the church to wake up. I’m in agreement that I am not discouraged but wondering what are the next steps?

    You recounted so many a

  13. mt2.org says:

    in posting access, please follow these steps:

    1. Email Erica George at egeorge AT cyber DOT law DOT harvard DOT edu. Include:

    Your name and HLS class year
    Your Harvard email address
    The email address you prefer to use to access this blog, if different
    The username you’d like for your new blogs.law account, which you’ll use to post to SummerLine. [This username will be how you log in to the SummerLine blog (and any other blogs.law blogs you might later choose to contribute to). You’ll have the option, once logged in, also to choose a nickname that can be changed any time.]
    If you already have a blogs.law account, you can use that account to log in to SummerLine

  14. Agario play says:

    Eğer bir Kara Büyü sınıfına ait Sura karakteri iseniz giyeceğiniz silahın kesinlikle büyülü saldırı değeri yüksek olması gerekir. Damage açısından bu silahlar işinizi görecektir. Ayrıca diğer kılıçlardan ziyade bu kılıçların bir diğer özelliği ortak kullanım silahları değildir, yalnızca Sura’lara aittir.

  15. sohbet says:

    chat chat chatroms cet turkish chat rooms

  16. film izle says:

    sansürsüz film izlemenin keyfi filmcee.com adresinde

  17. fancy text says:

    Es ist jetzt einfacher, geformte Namen zu erstellen. mit “Phantasietext”.

  18. agar says:

    I am determined with you that discipleship one person at a time is still the answer. In the middle of this secular age it is the only course of action that I have seen modelled and repeated.

  19. ogario says:

    You asked a profound question about us leaving our posts in order to immerse ourselves in secular environments.

  20. Great blog. I was speaking with my pastor about how the challenge you post about the church leaving their “post.” In this technological world, I realized the most acceptable and global “churchy” terms are not even defined on the internet.

  21. agario unblocked at the school

  22. Hasilbertapa says:

    Thank you. But, how do i get more details about this?

  23. Jasa IT says:

    A Secular Age by Charles Taylor is an exhaustive and narrative insight on what “secular” is and how we as people and planet got here. The unique mix of academic and story offers the reader a map of sorts which navigates the reader on a journey of how we became a secular society and world. The time frame that Taylor navigates is the mid-centuries of approximately 1500 through to the 21st century.

  24. aylor navigates is the mid-centuries of approximately 1500 through to the 21st century. This book is as much a history of humanity over the last five hundred plus years as it is a commentary on secularism. The essence of Taylor’s observation of the secularization of our is the following. F

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *