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Monday, September 29, 2008

More Ramblings on Subculture (3rd entry)

The early church dealt with a group called Gnostics. They were the ones that separated the “spirit” world from the “material” world and called all things material “secular.” Gnosticism championed the thought that there were two dominions we live in—the godly and the ungodly. They believed God is an imperfect God and is limited by this ungodly world

Is Christian subculture a new Gnosticism? We have done a similar thing by promoting the idea that there are two realms we live in—the secular and the sacred. And, in some cases, the subculture has purposefully or inadvertently decided what God can and cannot speak through.

It almost mirrors the problem that the townspeople faced in the old musical “The Music Man.” The song describing the town’s problem in the musical said, “Oh, we got trouble. Right here in river city. With a capital “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for pool.” The town’s ills were all surrounding the pool hall. Now, what might Christians do in this situation? Create a Christian pool hall. Cover the table in felt that has been made in the Holy Lands. Print Bible verses on the billiard balls. Make the triangular ball rack with the words Father, Son, Holy Spirit in the corners to remind kids of the trinity—the ever watchful eye in the sky holding them accountable for their ways. Serve non-alcoholic beverages.

The enemy is not culture. The savior is not a counter-culture. The goal is not to free ourselves from evil culture. The goal is not to run from the cries of a hurting people and distance ourselves from the native language.

Want to know how to talk about God with your friends? Find out what they are watching and listening to and dig in. How sad would it be if we could not enter into a conversation where someone wants to discuss the spiritual implications of pop culture because our heads are stuck in the cross-shaped sand sculpture we have built.

There is not one distinct Christian subculture. There are those who belong to the hymn singing culture—organ embracing culture—King James Bible reading subculture. There are those who belong to the Christian Heavy Metal listening, Christian tattoo wearing group. There are those who belong to the “boycott group”, and the “must wear a tie to church” group. The “I won’t read a book unless I bought it at the Christian bookstore” culture. There is the “nothing but the bible” subculture that hates my blogging and my speaking and my music i.e. Wrong language. Wrong approach. Wrong stories. Too much humor. Too many references to culture. Not enough references to scripture. Referencing a rated “R” movies. Quoting a democrat.

There are some who presuppose all good ideas are not really perfected ideas until they bear the language and the imagery of the Christian subculture. This is where I derail.

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