Sharing Jesus in Today’s Culture – “Inculturating”

by Ian Cheng

“Do I really need to explicitly proclaim the gospel in the workplace? Isn’t it enough to just be a good colleague or worker?”

All of us are immersed in today’s secular culture. Evidently so in the workplace – Topics around Netflix, the latest gossip, stocks often become the conversations in our workplaces. Instead of sharing Jesus, we tell ourselves being a good colleague or person in the workplace is enough. And more often than not participate and get swept away with all the secular talk.

Yet, Pope John Paul II makes it clear that “there can be no true evangelisation without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord. Yes, today’s culture is secular and in so many ways we have been influenced. However, we are called to be “in the world, but not of this world”. (John 15:19)

In Chapter 3 of Evangelii Gaudium, it is made clear we are called to impact today’s society through the culture that we live in. That culture is defined as the lifestyle of a given society, how we relate to one another (EG 3.116). Instead of being influenced by the secular culture, we are called to create a culture that shares Jesus, recognising the uniqueness of our society. That “through inculturation, the Church introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own community”  (EG 3.116). In the process of transmitting culture, we also “transmit the faith in every new forms, hence the importance of understanding evangelisation as inculturation” (EG 3.122). This is an ongoing and developing process of which the Holy Spirit is the principal agent (EG 3.122), and will lead and invite us to find new and creative ways to proclaim the Gospel.

This year, I’ve been amazed at the popularity of a podcast  “The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) that reached number one on iTunes for several weeks! Who would have thought that a podcast focused on walking through the entire bible in 365 episodes would be the top show on iTunes.

Catholic podcast topping the iTunes charts

It shows there is a hunger in the world for something more. And it’s our job to point them to the truth — Jesus Christ. A few years ago, my community was challenged to place a crucifix at our work desk. For many of us this was unfamiliar and for some downright scary. However looking back, this has led to many conversations and invitations to share Jesus more explicitly with colleagues and even leading to some of them joining our community!

On a number of occasions, it has led to colleagues walking past and exclaiming “are you Catholic?” And while uncomfortable at first, has led to deeper conversations where we share more about faith. It turns out 2-3 people I spoke to were catholics but had stopped going to Church. And while it’s still WIP, I’m more conscious of sharing the faith openly with them. While this may be hard to do for many of us during this season, the Lord continues to invite us to find new creative ways.

Well, Easter is coming up… For my office, we are still working from home and unable to meet in big groups. So we are thinking of new ways to share Jesus.

Invitation crafted to welcome colleagues and celebrate Easter!

One idea is for us to celebrate Easter with our colleagues by either giving or teaching them to bake Hot Cross buns. While at the same time, using the opportunity to share more about the Cross that we so proudly celebrate. It’s still in the works, so we pray the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and inspire us to find new ways to proclaim the Gospel!

How is God calling you to be creative in sharing Jesus in your workplace?

Ian is from the 7 Graces 2 community, and seeks to live out his belovedness in the world, while reaching out to fellow working adults.