The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines counterculture as…
a culture with values and mores that run counter to those of established society
I was always taught that you don’t define a word by using the word you’re attempting to define in the definition… but what do I know? Yet there you have it: A counterculture is a culture with values and mores, (customs) that run counter to those of established society.
If that’s our working definition, then I have one question: Can you think of any group or culture more “countercultural” than men pursuing godliness?
Two years ago, our men’s ministry did a fantastic study entitled, Stepping Up. The whole title is, Stepping Up to Courageous Manhood. It’s a 10-week study that basically asks and seeks to answer what it means to be a godly man.
[As an aside, let me share with you that it’s a phenomenal study and I heartily encourage you to use it at your church. In the thirteen-plus years of men’s ministry here at Southside, it’s easily in the top three studies we’ve ever done. The men loved it. And, if you’re interested in doing it, contact me and I’ll be happy to share what worked well and what some of the shortcomings were (though they were few).]
At any rate, one of the things that seemed to connect with the men, over and over again throughout the ten weeks, was just how counter to our culture godly or biblical manhood really is. From basic values and priorities to how to love and serve our families to how to lead in our community, it became clearer and clearer who the real counterculture actually was… and is.
Going along with the world, like going along with the current is easy. The problem is that you might not like where you end up. But in case you want to look just like the world, here’s a suggestion or two for how to do so…
1.) Never stand for anything.
2.) Or, if you do have convictions, make sure to tell everyone that they’re just your personally held opinions, and not what you believe is objectively true for everyone.
3.) Another way to show that you’re waist-deep in the culture is to live purely for yourself… certainly not sacrificial, God-centered living.
The list of examples comparing and contrasting the two different cultures could go on for days, but you get my point.
Now I know that within the greater popular culture there are many, many subcultures of which godly manhood is only one. And yet I wonder which of these subcultures is truly countercultural. Perhaps there’s more than one, but certainly men pursuing authentic godliness must rank near the top of the class.
If you want to join the real counterculture, then give yourself to Christ, follow him, worship him with others, get connected with others who study his word and pray together, who watch over one another in love, who serve others in need and distress. These and a thousand other things have distinguished God’s people for thousands of years and will continue to do so. Let me encourage you to join the real counterculture today.
Grace and Truth,