Squeezed into the World’s Mold

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JB Phillips paraphrases Romans 12:2 (Be not confirmed to this world) as, “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. I thought of this while reading the papers yesterday.

A young, Jewish Seattle couple (photo right) is moving to Israel and Gabriella Bass commented, “[In Israel] The culture that surrounds you is your culture; it’s not something you squeeze into your life. We won’t feel like we’re going against the stream.” She is not so afraid of America’s squeezing her into it’s mold, she’s concerned that Jewish culture has to be squeezed into America’s life and it is like swimming upstream.

Then I read about Rev. Joe Fuiten, who wants to fix the “squeeze problem” by squeezing American life into a Christian mold through political activism. “God wants us to be involved in government. God wants us to be involved in government. Along with the church and family, it’s an institution God created which ought to be under the will of God. It’s not like we’re trying to impose our values on the country. We’re trying to prevent other people from imposing their values on us.” On the dating front Michele McKinney Hammond and Neil Clarke Warren are trying to help young evangelicals negotiate the dating scene by catering to them as a unique and specific sub-culture.

Christian rock represents a whole different angle, squeezing Christian lyrics into popular music modes. It raises an important question not often asked, can theological depth be “squeezed into” musical styles generally agreed to be musically shallow? And can a young artist be the conduit for such depth? On this score Seattle CCM Artist Shawn McDonald seems refreshingly honest about his credentials, but perhaps unaware of their deeper implications. “A lot of (young people) have looked down upon … Christian music and Christians in general. A lot of people won’t listen, and I don’t blame them. I haven’t been a Christian for that long, and we’re tackling it in a new form, to show people that it’s real and not just some happy, feel-good thing.” After the Apostle Paul’s conversion, he disappeared from the public scene for seventeen years (three in the desert and 14 years in Syria and Silicia) for a period of maturation in the faith prior to public ministry. If such a testing and proving period were in place today, there would be no CCM industry!

This young generation of performers & artists think nothing of a enjoying Sunday CCM Concert in a nation where just before they were born, “blue laws” would have prohibited such activities!

Evangelicals are not known for deep thought, unlike Steven Hawking who has changed his mind about black holes, which he confesses he has been thinking about for 30 years! That one would think is rare, but to devote thirty years to thinking about information seepage from black holes is stunning!

In my view, influencing culture requires going deeper intellectually, spiritually and artistically and there is little evidence evangelicals have thought deep enough about this to understand or do something about it.

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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