I often find it hard to reconcile what I believe is good and right with the society and culture I live in (Australian, democratic, western, capitalist, middle class, etc.)
This has something to do with the fact I call myself a Christian, but also has a lot to do with the world around me. You don't have to look very far to find war, excess, waste, want, hate, meaninglessness and lots worse.
At one stage, I suppose I thought being a monk or hermit in my own little "back to basics" culture would be ideal - no TV, only spiritual music, no films, no distractions...but then from time to time, along come elements of this modern world, the time I was born into, that I really resonate with and want to include in my faith even though the source may not necessarily be "Christian".
Maybe it's got to do with outlook. Can something intended for bad be good? Is there such a thing as "neutral"?
There are plenty of examples of modern culture that have affected me, and I can think of some in the "entertainment" category off the top of my head, like: Eminem's song 8 Mile, which I found very moving and poignant (I don't really know why); the film Once Were Warriors; the music of Moby (who claims to be a Christian); science fiction novels; the list goes on.
In addition, I've really appreciated some of the secular psychological-type stuff I've seen and heard, and perhaps it's helped me in my life and informed my faith - things like Gardiner's multiple intelligences, De Bono's Thinking Hats, and Jane Elliot's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes (as far as I know, none of these people are Christian).
One other thing that bugs me: it seems like care of the world and resources (that old-fashioned word "stewardship") isn't as high on the list of priorities of church groups as other non-Christian organisations. I could never be called a "greenie" (whatever that means), but I do appreciate that, left to their own devices, big business or big governments won't necessarily prioritise conservation, sustainable development, recycling, etc.
I'm getting off track here, and it's a long-winded way to introduce an article I really enjoyed about Christianity in culture from emergent kiwi. Here's the intro:
I was with a lecture class a few weeks ago, talking about gospel and culture. We tend to polarise into two camps; withdrawal from culture or assimilation into culture. This duality blights the emerging church. We get accused of assimilation; of buying into postmodernity. I think a much more subtle process is at work, and I offered the class the following three symbols...
Steve goes on to talk about juxtaposition, subversion and amplification in a very short post. Well worth the read, even if you aren't a Christian, but like me, struggle with modern culture.
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