Mastering Cultural Engagement: A Step-by-Step Guide for Christians

Are you struggling to navigate the stormy seas of culture through the lens of your Christian faith? Do you find it challenging to engage in cultural conversations without compromising your core beliefs? If your answer is yes, you’ve landed on the right page. Our conversation with Nathan Alberson, a seasoned podcaster and a dedicated Christian, will illuminate your path. Raised in a conservative homeschool community, Nathan has first-hand experience grappling with the tension between Christianity and popular culture. Today, he is a beacon of wisdom, guiding Christians to engage with culture in a God-honoring way. He’ll share his journey and provide concrete steps to approach cultural engagement with discernment, wisdom, and a solid Biblical foundation.

Nathan Alberson is a church planter with Church of the King in Evansville, Indiana, and the creative director of Warhorn Media. With a passion for engaging culture with discernment, Nathan produces and appears on several podcasts, including Sanity at the Movies, Sound of Sanity, The Booking, and The Build. As a professional podcaster, he brings knowledge and experience to the table. Nathan aims to bring sanity to an insane world, occupying spaces where the Christian witness may be under attack. With a laid-back and personable approach, Nathan offers insights into navigating the complexities of culture while staying rooted in biblical truth. His expertise and engaging style make him a valuable guest for anyone seeking wisdom and tools to engage culture faithfully.

To be a Christian in today’s world means more than just having a set of personal beliefs. It means actively engaging with and influencing our culture without compromising our values. It’s an essential part of our faith journey, significantly impacting our personal and professional lives. It requires wisdom to discern what aligns with our faith and courage to stand firm. It’s about leveraging our platforms, such as social media, to engage with the world around us positively. It’s about not just surviving in our culture but thriving and using our faith to navigate the ebb and flow of societal trends. Engaging with culture as a Christian is not a passive exercise; it’s an active, daily commitment to let our light shine.

Key Steps

  • Identify Personal Values and Beliefs
  • Engage with Culture Without Withdrawing
  • Exercise Discernment in Cultural Interactions
  • Leverage Social Media to Promote Positive Engagement
  • Maintain Active Participation in the Church Community.

Identify Personal Values and Beliefs


Identifying personal values and beliefs is essential for engaging in cultural discourse. This foundational step can influence how one interprets and responds to societal issues. Following popular trends or blindly accepting information from various sources might be tempting. However, having a clear understanding of one’s values allows individuals to discern truths from misinformation and navigate the complexities of cultural engagement. In the podcast, Nathan Alberson exemplifies how he identified his personal values and used them as a beacon in his online and offline interactions.


His strong faith and belief system shaped his views on engaging with culture. Rather than shying away from uncomfortable discussions, Nathan approached them with courage, wisdom, and discernment. His experiences shed light on the potential repercussions of voicing dissenting opinions and challenge the audience to consider how their values guide their interactive habits. For instance, his ordeal on social media stemmed from his commitment to expressing his beliefs, validating the necessity of understanding the consequences of publicly delineating personal values.

Recognizing personal beliefs and values is crucial as it enables individuals to set boundaries, make decisions aligned with their convictions, and constructively contribute to cultural conversations. This awareness empowers individuals to stand firm amidst societal pressure and navigate ideological disagreements gracefully. As demonstrated by Nathan Alberson, owning one’s values can shape digital interactions and challenge prevailing narratives. Furthermore, it encourages authentic expression and cultivates resilience in the face of criticism, fostering a balanced and empathetic exchange of ideas in the cultural arena. It is worth noting that this process is not a one-time event but a continual exercise in self-reflection and growth. With societal dynamics in constant flux, regularly revisiting and reaffirming personal values can equip individuals to engage culture confidently and with integrity.

Engage with Culture Without Withdrawing


It’s not a novel concept for believers to grapple with navigating their interactions with the world’s culture. The critical step that often resurfaces is engagement without complete withdrawal. In other words, it denotes active participation in the world and its issues without letting it consume one’s values and actions. This approach encourages individuals to watch from the sidelines and participate in a way that upholds their values. While recognizing the need to protect oneself from negative influences, it underlines that total isolation is not helpful.

Donate

Instead, a balanced approach of engagement and discernment is necessary. Delving into the discussion with Nathan Alberson, it’s discernible how he brilliantly navigates this complexity. Nathan stresses the need for a real connection with the world and participating in it responsibly. He retells instances where he has shared his views on social media platforms, contributing to cultural discussions and, at the same time, embracing the backlash that often followed. For him, engagement with culture requires an explicit understanding of oneself, awareness of one’s audience, and aligning your convictions with your actions.


Even amidst backlash, he believes in standing tall, confident in one’s beliefs, and expressing them respectfully. This critical step shapes how believers view and interact with the world. Engaging with culture without completely withdrawing from it helps individuals to establish a healthy relationship with the world, navigating its complexities with discernment. Instead of confining oneself into a bubble, this offers an opportunity to grow, learn, and contribute positively to society. It’s about taking the middle ground between blind assimilation into culture and absolute disconnection from it. The ultimate aim is to strive towards faithfulness in engagement, creating a balance that allows one to live out their beliefs while positively influencing culture.

city skyline

Exercise Discernment in Cultural Interactions


Engaging with culture is an inevitable aspect of our daily lives. Our world is saturated with a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and ideologies. This vibrant confluence of values and perspectives forms the backdrop against which individuals navigate their personal and professional lives. In such a context, it’s vital to approach cultural engagement with discernment. This isn’t just a reactive measure to mitigate potential conflicts or misunderstandings but a proactive effort to foster respect, open-mindedness, and constructive interactions. Incorporated wisely, discernment can act as a beacon, guiding one’s journey through the ebbs and flows of cultural currents, helping us strike a balance, and fostering mutual understanding.

In this episode of the Faithfully Engaged podcast, Nathan Alberson delves into his own experiences, shedding light on the importance of discernment in cultural engagement. He uses several examples from his personal life, such as dealing with the cultural clash on social media platforms and his approach toward controversial topics. By sharing his experiences, Alberson creates a tangible representation of the concept of discernment in cultural engagement.

His online backlash and criticism stories underscore the need for prudence and sound judgment when interacting within the multicultural digital sphere. He illustrates the potential pitfalls of cultural engagement – misunderstandings, miscommunications, and sometimes outright hostility. However, Alberson also highlights the potential growth and understanding that can be fostered when applied discernment. This critical step, discernment in cultural engagement, carries significant weight for several reasons.

For one, in a more connected world than ever, courtesy of technology, it is nearly impossible to stay disengaged from cultural interchanges. Moreover, these interactions come with their share of challenges and complexities. A lack of discernment could lead to misunderstanding, conflict, and missed opportunities for growth and understanding. Therefore, exercising discernment in cultural engagement is not merely about evading undesirable scenarios. Instead, embracing diversity, fostering mutual respect, and negatively participating in the ongoing dialogue between cultures is a conscious choice. It’s about enriching our perspectives as global citizens while respecting and acknowledging the multi-faceted nature of our world.

Leverage Social Media to Promote Positive Engagement


A critical component in navigating cultural engagement in an impactful way is using social media platforms to promote positive engagement. With the frequent shifts in society’s conversations and attitudes, social media platforms offer an accessible and impactful channel to voice opinions, initiate exciting dialogue, and manifest core belief systems. However, it’s essential to approach this with strategic wisdom and discernment, understanding the diverse audience that each platform attracts and tailoring discourse to resonate with the intended audience.



One must know their influence and recognize every tweet or statement’s potential implications. Guest Nathan Alberson shares insight from his experiences and cultural engagement on Twitter. The platform has been a space of support and backlash for him, a testament to social media’s capacity to unite and polarize. Nathan has learned to approach tweeting with thoughtful and balanced judgment. Despite facing criticism and hatred, he stood by his belief system, exuding authenticity and confidence that led to more people rallying behind him. His journey shows how social media can be a platform for respectful and productive discussions, even when the topics might be intense or controversial.



The importance of leveraging social media to promote positive engagement must be supported in today’s digital era. Whether voicing opinions on cultural matters or advocating for fundamental beliefs, public platforms can be crucial in driving meaningful dialogue and transcending dialogue barriers. They allow one to assert one’s values while leaving room for understanding diverse opinions. It’s essential, however, to always approach such platforms with discernment, recognizing the influence you carry and the transforming cultural currents in the virtual world. This way, social media forums can become town squares, sparking rich conversations grounded in respect and invested learning.

stained glass church windows

Maintain Active Participation in the Church Community.


The idea that active participation in a church community significantly influences a person’s perspective on engaging with the culture is a compelling concept. Living in a shared faith environment helps foster values like accountability, discernment, and balanced reasoning, which are essential when facing cultural and social issues. It also assists in realigning priorities, emphasizing the fundamental aspects of faith, such as community service, family care, and personal spiritual growth.


These values should guide online discussions or debates about cultural affairs and only commence when one is actively involved within a local church. A great example of this can be drawn from the guest Nathan Alberson’s conversation. He stated that if someone is highly engaged in online activities and lacks active participation within a church community, he would not hold much respect for them. Alberson stressed the importance of engaging with your local group of believers, cultivating Christian friendships, and being part of a diverse community. He believed that this hands-on interaction grounds us and prepares us for higher-level discussions about our faith and its interaction with the world around us.

As society continues to evolve, so does how we communicate and interpret information – making this critical step vital for the audience. Culture is constantly churning with fresh ideas, challenges, and viewpoints; therefore, having a solid ground of faith and community is imperative before venturing into these often turbulent waters. Rooted in a church community provides stability and guidance to discern cultural trends. It also allows for growth and refinement through being part of something larger than oneself. With such a foundation, one might find navigating the crossroads of faith and culture manageable and misguiding.

Conclusion

The complexities of our culture can seem overwhelming, but as Christians, we have a unique opportunity to engage and influence it for the better. The steps we’ve discussed here – identifying our beliefs, engaging without withdrawing, using discernment, leveraging social media, and participating in our church community – are more than just actions; they’re our compass in a world where it’s easy to get lost. By following these steps, we can engage meaningfully and effectively with the culture around us, bringing our faith to the forefront of our interactions and responses. You are not just a passive observer but an active participant. So, go ahead and step into the world with conviction and the knowledge that you are well-equipped to face any cultural challenge that comes your way.

Have you tried these tactics and strategies? Could you share your successes and challenges with us in the comments?