Our family listens to Adel and Imagine Dragons, we read things like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and we watch things like Dr. Who, not to be like the culture or influenced by it, but rather to listen to its cries and tune in to its longings. To be aware! Then, as a family, we talk about what it may be magnifying or reveling about the culture we live in. In the same way, we study all the major religions with the kids once they hit about 11 or 12, as a way of helping them see how various world views have shaped history and our culture as well as show them how deeply the depth of love, kindness and forgiveness found within the Christian narrative goes through Jesus. I hope and believe that this is an essential element in raising kids up in a postmodern culture where faith in God though Jesus isn’t a political agenda, a moral code, or what your parents tell you you have to do but can actually be a real living relationship with a real living God that our kids will grow up into, instead of walk away from the minute they leave home. We call it Double Listening.
Living subversively in any culture takes careful and intentional strategies. In the same way that following Jesus doesn’t happen by accident, living a provocative life of faith does not either. This is why ‘The Art of Double Listening’ is so powerful. It takes, time and patience and wrestling with hard questions and listening to what the Heart of the Father is for his broken creation. It also takes a fearless faith. A deep trust in a sovereign God and a very personal prayer life.
We need to become people who are so in tune with what God is saying, through the Holy Spirit and his word, as well as actively listening to what the culture is crying out for, that we know how to craft a life that stands outside of culture offering a way of hope and peace.
It means getting out of your bubble. It means being as fluent in the sounds of Adele as you are to Chris Tomlin. Maybe it means you read the entire Harry Potter series or Hunger Games Trilogy with the question on your mind, “Why is this series so popular in culture today. What is it giving them that they are hungry for? What does it expose ? Is there a way I can address that in my life and actions towards a hungry world?” I had the most astounding conversations with our son after we finished reading the HPT together, that I wept at the depth of his heart and understanding of the God who knows us all by name. Young children want to talk about God, who he is and how he loves them. They want to have these kinds of conversations and we do them a major disservice if we give them pat answers or are too busy to go there with them, or even worse, as pastoral families go off to minister to the “church” people and leave our kids to figure it out on their own. Shame on us.
“Is there a way I can address what I see culture hungry for in my life and actions towards a hungry world?” That question is a doozy. It may have you assessing the way you approach so many things, the whole way you and your family live your lives. If we love and worship a living God, and expect him to call us into loving a broken world around us, then knowing what our culture is hungry for will help us live a simply, subversive, supernatural life of faith.