Confessions of a cranky Culture-Watcher

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Suddenly everybody is talking about movies, music, games and their influence on culture and popular culture’s “potential” for gospel sharing. We’re all getting sensitized to the spiritual messages in popular culture and hapless pastors are figuring out how to load movie clips in powerpoint.

I find myself in countless conversations with enthusiastic Christians lacking the tools and vocabulary to adequately understand their faith or its relationship with culture. With all the enthusiasm about “faith and culture” we ought to look at a sequence of issues that should be part of our discussion. I hope the following checklist represents love and not the expulsions of a cranky old culture-watcher. We ought to understand:

1) The nature of popular culture (diversionary, mindless, celebrity-driven), modern technology, media, marketing and economioc drivers; this should curb our appetite and move us away from cultural gluttony.
2) The imitative, exploitative intellectually stunted nature of today’s evangelicalism and its core incompatibility with some features of popular culture; this should lead to serious self examination, a heavy dose of embarrassment followed by deep repentance and a return to our radical roots.
3) The nature of essential Christianity with a tough point of entry (self denial etc.), a radical countercultural ethic, a call to deep community.
4) The calling of Jesus followers to be a loving, transforming presence, which rejects isolationism, combativeness or conformity.
5) The creation mandate, which should produce great, deep lasting art and should grow a community that consumes such art instead of the lite-less-filling stuff that fallen culture cranks out.
6) The countercultural call to be “pilgrims who are passing through,” which should temper our desire to be “popular and mainstream.” The very nature of our call means we are at best exiles.
7) The ambassadorial call to bridge gospel to culture and to more deeply understand gospel in light of culture, which should result in humility and the discarding of formulaic “gospel sales pitches.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in October 13, 2004 by | No Comments »

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