Being Civic Minded (2/2)

This blog originally appeared on The Green Room.

In my last post we drew the connection between the gift of the law in the Old Testament and its connection with civic mindedness. The question becomes, what place does the greater civitas have in the faith and work movement?

The faith and work movement is growing, and quickly, which is exciting. From voices such as Tom Nelson and Greg Forster the movement is being deepened by economic conversation. Renewal in the marketplace must reclaim virtuous enterprise or we risk seeing capitalism run amuck as greed overcomes self-interest and free-markets collapse under the weight of those with all the capital.

Other voices like Tim Keller, Katherine Leary Alsdorf and David Kim, remind us of the deep Calvinistic roots to this theological and ecclesiological renewal. Additionally, the faith and work movement is called to invest in the arts. The Reformation’s tendency to eschew the contribution of art out of idolatrous fears perhaps went too far. Art is culture’s imaginative conversation partner about what is and what can be or should be. If the church is to prepare for mission in the future, art is an essential conversation partner.

These two hubs of conversation cover only a portion of the spheres articulated by Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty, however. Abraham Kuyper carves out several spheres as the basis of society in which the Church must minister: the family, marketplace, government, and the arts. The Church has done a great job the last 40 years reclaiming ministry to Kuyper’s fourth sphere, the family. Since Young Life revolutionized worship and youth ministry, the local church has reclaimed its mission to the family.

Having the marketplace conversation up and running, and with the arts conversation going deeper and deeper, my question is this: how will the faith and work movement branch into the civic realm? This chapter remains to be written.

Imagine a day in which civil service is attractive and aspiring for our brightest and most talented youth! Imagine a day in which our presidential candidates are viewed as two great options! Imagine a day when Christ-followers show up in droves at public forums, and there advocate for all the neighborhood residents! Imagine a day when city councilmen and women come to church leaders for advice or insight on best practices! Imagine a day in which our churches conduct voting registrations for the common good rather than veiled support for our quietly preferred political party! Imagine a day…such a day…

May we advance the civic conversation because the order we are called to bring as co-laborers with Christ, and lift up those voices where it has already begun.
Dr. Case Thorp leads The Collaborative, and serves as the senior associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.  Image: Pixabay.

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