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Feb 9th, 2021
Upstream: Culture and Community
By: Michael Rossini
1 minute read 

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (NLT)

When I was an incoming freshman at UK in 2005, I remember we had to watch a presentation of what they were calling the Green Dot campaign. It was born from the effort of several campus groups with the intent of addressing on-campus sexual violence against women, which was a huge issue nationwide. On a map of the campus, they showed red dots representing every reported case of sexual violence from the past year. The Green Dot campaign was meant to turn future “incidents” into “interventions”—to decrease incidents of violence by empowering everyone on campus to become protectors, intermediaries, and positive role models. Ultimately, they wanted the map to look green instead of red.

The sad truth is that sexual violence had persisted because of toxic subcultures—concepts like sexual conquest, victim shaming, and alcohol abuse were all targeted through the campaign.

I don’t remember the numbers, but I know there was definitely positive movement thanks to this campaign. Why? Because the darkness was named (brought into the light through awareness) and acknowledged (not pushed aside), and then it was dealt with by means of creating new cultural norms (repentance). Passivity was no longer an option—if you were in a position to prevent rape or abuse, you had an obligation to speak out and make an effort to stop the incident from occurring. And for those who had perpetrated rape, or might in the future, there was a sharp sense that they were now in the spotlight. The message was, “You are not in the shadows anymore.”

There are toxic subcultures all around us that only thrive because people let them. What did Jesus do, if not shine light into the darkness so that sin could no longer hide in the shadows? As followers of Jesus, with the leading of His Spirit, we have an opportunity to shine Light at every turn, disrupt the darkness, and as a result, see life begin to flourish in the lives of those around us. The world desperately needs us to do this.

Think about subcultures that exist in your own world. There are thousands of possibilities. Think about how you fit within one of those subcultures, and then ask God how you can start to shine Light in the darkness for His glory and the benefit of others.