Karl Barth was reportedly fond of saying, "We must hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other." These days one could recast the old adage as "hold the Bible in one hand and the TV remote in the other" or "hold the Bible in one hand and an iPad in the other."

Regardless of which media is chosen, the point remains the same: Christians, and especially church leaders, need to know both the biblical text and the cultural circumstances into which its truths are preached. Paul perhaps set an early example as "he reasoned … in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there." (Acts 17:17 emphasis added)

There is, of course, no lack of interest in culture in most Christian circles today. But I suspect that all too often it's solely with an interest in blaming culture (for our societal ills) or changing culture (to overcome our ills), without first seeking to simply understand culture. Worse, this culture-blaming ...

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