I have recently started reading The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani (so far I highly recommend this book). And that book has sparked these thoughts. I have been deeply involved in the Church and Culture discussion throughout college and my professional career inside the church. This is a discussion that needs to happen and continue. Should culture be levied in order to teach the world about God’s love and Grace? Should we remain separate from culture completely? There are no easy answers to these questions and if you can simply choose one and dismiss the other then you need to re-examine yourself.
We have probably all seen the Christian knock offs of Cultural Icons – Have you driven the Lord Lately? Jesus, That’s my final answer – and while these products are created with the best intentions and serve as uplifting and motivational for a % of Christians they end up presenting the Christian faith in the same light as the “Rolex” watch you haggle for on the streets of New York (which in my opinion is one of the best parts of New York – there is nothing more fun than haggling for worthless junk).
We have all also probably seen Christianity and Culture in a warm embrace and presented in a way that worked for you. I know a number of larger churches that present the relationship between Christianity and Culture in a professional and polished way that is effective to both the seeker and the seasoned at the same time. The best sound equipment, coolest graphics, hollywood quality video productions, and more all to further the kingdom of God.
Skye writes “The emergence of a Christian subculture that parallels the secular culture in every way reveals the captivity of our imagination. And George Barna writes “American Christianity has largely failed since the middle of the twentieth century because Jesus’ modern-day disciples do not act like Jesus.” How is this so?
As Christians, we are very creative, but not so imaginative. What does that mean? We have so much creative talent that is being wasted by recycling the cultural imagery but we can’t imagine anything outside that box. We serve a creative God, we create because we were created. We have intimate access to the greatest story in Human history – Creation, Fall, Redemption, ReCreation. We are created in the image of a God with the capacity to imagine everything that exists around us and yet we neglect our imagination in order to create what people are all ready consuming. That my friend presents a problem.
There is no right or wrong answer (as far as i can see) as whether or not to levy culture in order to share God’s Love. That being said, let’s not neglect our imaginations. The greatest story ever told doesn’t exist from storytellers who don’t know it.