On being counter-cultural

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. We sat in the gymnasium as the pastor spoke, although "sat" is generous given that I spent most of the time pacing behind the rows of chairs, willing my daughter to catch a quick morning nap. The text was Hebrews 13, although I admittedly missed a large chunk due to taking care of my boys... what I did hear, was along these lines:

What does living outside the camp look like for you? Being counter-cultural will involve some suffering.

He went on the mention the church in Egypt that was bombed that morning, as believers worshiped Jesus on Palm Sunday, and that our suffering likely won't look that way... but his question stuck with me. 

My life, ostensibly, involves a lot of everydayness. Waking to breakfast, snacks, diapers, nursing, lunches, nap times, park play dates and dinner. The most change in my day involves the eternally significant question: what IS for dinner? And, perhaps more importantly, how tall must the laundry pile get before it needs to be decorated to match the living room? Chip and JoJo have yet to address how to shiplap a laundry mountain... maybe I'll just stick a succulent on top. 

The term "counter-culture" fosters images of extreme minimalists or the Amish. It feels daunting and large, looming over me like another box to check, another way I can't keep up. Another thing to put off until the kids are older. Counter-culture sounds intimidating, requiring intentionality... don't I already try enough? I try to be intentional with my kids, the books we read, the words we use, the food we eat... and then...
I realized maybe, just maybe, being counter-cultural isn't something you post on facebook, a sort of declaration, like, "I'm doing a Whole30!" "We are coffee snobs." "I'm breastfeeding until my child is 2." "My kids only eat organic." "Look at how often we travel!" "I am healthy! I exercise a lot! See all of my pictures of me exercising?"

Because... the way of culture is an elevation of self. Me. Me. Me. All eyes on me. Maybe, just maybe, counter-culture looks like humility. Thinking of ourselves less. Serving others. A million small faithful acts that no one will ever notice... no one will see. Maybe being counter-cultural looks like considering the interests of others before our own. Maybe we look like minimalists because we own less stuff, but being counter-cultural means we are living simply so others can simply live. Maybe counter-cultural looks like prioritizing hospitality and sharing meals around a table with someone who looks nothing like us.

So, counter-culture does require intentionality, true. We have to intentionally not go the way of culture... in that we aren't seeking accolades and trophies and platforms. My everydayness may look like everydayness, but how am I engaging with those around me? Do I point to myself? Do I point to Christ? Is the Gospel of Jesus what is shown in me? Or the Gospel of Kara, of self-reliance and self-promotion? 

Because, making much of Christ is as counter-cultural as it can possibly get.

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