First, I don’t believe (once someone gets past being a “Sunday Christian” ) that there is a divide between the sacred and the secular, but that is a different post for a different day. I’m going to use the labels to get my point across for the sake of this post. Finding the sacred in the secular is a knack…not everyone has it, and not everyone wants it. There are some hyper-fundamentalists, and some denominations that would disagree with pretty much everything I’m going to say in this installment.
When one comes to Christ, and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it not something that is turned on and off…our beings become fundamentally changed and we are made a new creature. A new creature sees and hears the world in a different way; everything starts having different meanings, and our lives are richer for it. There have been many things in my life that have either taught me spiritual truth, or have made me think more deeply about some aspect of life, the universe, and everything, that have come from a secular source (by this point all my readers should see that plainly by my enjoyment of Doctor Who, amongst other things). There are “secular” songs, for instance that are written about various subjects from romance to fame that resonate with me about theological issues, books that aren’t about religion in any way shape or form that touch my soul, movies that may reveal an aspect of our relationship to God or to other humans that were never “meant” by the writers, directors and producers to be taken that way.
There are those in Christendom that would tell each of us to shun everything secular…besides being impossible, isn’t that a bit presumptive? When the Lord wanted to get a point across in a way that would stick in the minds of the people listening He often employed parables; teaching stories that brought in aspects of everyday life (that most would label “secular”) that also taught spiritual truth for those with the eyes and ears to see and hear the point He was making. He was the Master at weaving the sacred into the mundane. Now, I don’t believe that all secular musicians and writers are doing the same thing that He did, far from it, but I do believe that the Holy Spirit can use the secular to turn on a light bulb within us.
My point is this; keep your eyes and ears open, you never know what medium or in what way God may decide to get you thinking. We are to be in the world, but not of it, we are to think of good and wonderful things…but that does not mean we are to live with our heads in the sand, or to stop up our ears and hide our eyes from all things secular. The Holy Spirit is quite capable of directing us to something, or away from it on an individual basis, and I for one firmly believe that He uses the mundane to get us thinking and to transform the secular into the sacred; to transform various everyday experiences, like watching a television show, or listening to a song, or fishing, or hiking, or working out, or reading a book…into something that can teach us about the spiritual aspects of ourselves, or our relationship to Him. And, no, that doesn’t give us an excuse not to turn to Him in His word, or to abandon “sacred” music…it’s just another aspect of our lives that He can (and I believe does) use. This can also fit into apologetics; when we are talking to others, it is sometimes easier for us to communicate a point by giving examples and drawing connections between things that people experience in a “secular” sense, depending on the other person’s experiences.
I hope to have a precise example written up to better illustrate my point by tomorrow, and will add the link here when it is up. EDIT: Okay, here are my thoughts using a Breaking Benjamin song (a secular band) to remind readers that Jesus is a Lamb, and a Lion.