I recently heard someone mention Matthew 5:13 saying, “salt adds flavor,” and it got me thinking. Ever licked a salt block, or put a tablespoon of salt in your mouth? Too much salt is not a good thing. But a little bit of salt added to various foods actually draws out the flavor latent within them. So, salt doesn't add flavor; it enhances flavor.
Similarly, light in itself isn't necessarily beautiful. In fact, it's difficult to look directly into light. Beauty is experienced when the light reflects off the myriad of diverse colors found in God’s world. So light doesn't bring beauty; light reveals beauty.
It's interesting, then, that Jesus chose salt and light as metaphors to describe our role in the world. Perhaps, rather than attempting to replace cultures with our own modern view of what Christianity should look like, we should be allowing the life of Christ in us to redeem the latent flavor and beauty in the cultures around us for our God to enjoy for Himself--the way He intended when He created us.