A Counterculture for the Common Good

How the “next Christians” offer light to the world

In contrast to countercultures that separate, antagonize, or copy culture, the next Christians are a counterculture for the common good that is centered and immoveable. They don't concern themselves with popularity, what they can achieve for themselves, or whether the masses are following. Instead, they boldly lead.

Preserving Agents in a Decaying World

Christ said, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot" (Matthew 5:13). For ages, salt has been understood as the key agent for preserving and protecting food from decay or spoilage. This was especially true in the ancient world where the modern technology of refrigeration didn't exist. Jesus likely used the idea of salt to define how his followers should interact in the world.

Salt is only useful when it's good, active, and engaged—doing what it's supposed to do where it's supposed to be. Salt doesn't preserve anything by itself; it must attach to something in order to provide its life- sustaining and preservative value.

Salt is only useful when it's good, active, and engaged—doing what it's supposed to do where it's supposed to be. Salt doesn't preserve anything by itself; it must attach to something in order to provide its life- sustaining and preservative value.

Left on its own, even in proximity to meat, salt will do nothing to keep the meat from going bad. And meat left alone, without salt, will rot and be rendered useless. But when the two intermingle— when the salt is rubbed deep into filet mignon— it not only preserves the steak but expresses its greatest attributes in taste, quality, and flavor.

The next Christians see themselves as salt—preserving agents actively restoring in the middle of a decaying culture. They attach themselves to people and structures that are in danger of rotting while availing themselves of Christ's redeeming power to do work through them. They understand that by being restorers they fight against the cultural tide. But they feel called to restore and renew everything they see falling apart.

Although they know they may never see the full manifestation of their work, they honor God by living in this way. Their commitment to hold back evil, to repair systems and structures, and to heal people who are broken and suffering from the fall gives an alternative trajectory to the average life (see How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, page 33). They bring peace to situations and are constantly about the work of putting things back together.

December 04, 2012 at 8:55 AM

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