Last week we had Andy Crouch (columnist for Christianity Today and project director for Christian Vision Project) at Biblical talking to us about the relationship between church and culture. It was a good presentation so I want to give some of his thoughts here (but mind you, my interpretations of what he said):
His descriptors of culture: It is urban, affluent (even the poor are shaped by America’s affluence), post christian, and thin (intellectually and relationally).
Question? The church is in culture but is she transforming or being transformed? Should it see its job as transforming culture?
Since the 19th century, the church has had these postures toward culture:
1. Condemning culture (the suspicion of christians of increasing worldliness)
2. Critiquing culture (a la Francis Schaeffer, take in culture but critique it)
3. Copying culture (the rise of the christian rock music scene)
4. Consuming culture (just use it, no critique)
#2-4 are what we call cultural engagement. Each one may be short-sighted. Andy suggested that these are all good gestures but not good postures or stances for the church. There are things we should condemn, things we should critique, things we may want to copy, and things we may want to just consume. However, he called us to look at the creation mandate for guidance on a different posture: Cultivate and Create. Adam was called to cultivate the garden and to create by naming the animals as he saw fit. (I’ve written on this as well so it was neat to see him say something similar). Our posture, says Andy, should be one of cultivating culture and creating culture. He showed us a short video from the Christian vision project of an artist in NYC (and two prominent pastors) talking about doing both cultivation and creation after 9/11.
Good things to think about…