Hanspeter Nüesch, Director of Campus für Christus Switzerland, lectured on societal developments and the christian response to it. Here are some of his remarks, mixed with some of mine:
We live in a high tech, fast moving, information-overloaded, pluralistic society. Alltogether we can state that it suffers from two megatrends:
a lack of love (a love deficit) – people yearn for devotion, intimacy
a lack of meaning (sense deficit) – people yearn for certainty and examples
Everybody, christian or not, will be influenced by these. How can we as christians still be the salt and light in such a society, how can we cope with this?
We are called to be different. Hanspeter brought up Jesus’ words in Matthew 5, where He repeatedly states: ‘But I say to you’ – Jesus calls for a contrasting response to what people expect. This means (and Hanspeter had a list of 20+ statements like this): unity and harmony in increasing chaos and individuality; profound experiences instead of a hype-culture; discipline and accountability as opposed to loss of authority; love and forgiveness for increasing hate and war, ‘enough’ instead of ‘more-more-more’.
Interesting thoughts. Not only interesting, but important – and urgent! I guess the Swiss christian community suffers from the same as the Dutch: many have fallen asleep or have retired out of disappointment or fear, or even worse: many have been captured by the megatrends: the ratrace, the self-centeredness, the superficiality. As I said: we are all influenced by societal trends. But we need to be aware of that, in order not to be captured. Many christians are chameleons – invisible in their natural environment.
And christians should be chameleons – but rather those that are red when the environment is green! We should be recognised as the salt and the light, as those who bring what is needed, as those who make the difference. And the good news is: the key to be like that is at hand. The key is to focus on God and have Him speak to us:
– Daily ‘eating’ and applying the Word of God
– Regular sabbaticals – time away from the turbulency and pressure that society brings
– Creatively develop friendship with God
– Look for guidance by Gods Spirit
– Keep a balance between the head and the heart
Doing so will lift the pressure and the stress that society puts on our shoulders. Kierkegaard said: ‘who is married to the zeitgeist, will soon be a widower’. Jesus’ answer is: ‘come unto me, all of you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’.