Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Christianity and Culture
The idea is that, as Christians, we’re called to redeem culture and renew it and reclaim it and “re” it somehow. And I think that’s a beautiful idea and that there are certainly individuals and groups that are doing that in some amazing ways. But the idea of “redeeming culture” can also be a fantastical excuse to justify your actions.You know all that "in, but not of" stuff? Culture is one of those places that we can be visibly "not of." I know almost nothing about that Philadelphia show and nothing whatsoever about Lil Wayne. I avoid them.
At some point, I have to stop saying, “I’m watching ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ so that I can redeem culture or be relevant to this generation,” and start saying, “I’m watching it because it’s funny.”
Let’s be honest: How’s my personal campaign to redeem culture by watching a television show in my living room going? Can you feel the groundswell that is emanating from my couch, just a movement that will forever redeem culture? Yeah, me neither.
And unless I’m yelling Bible verses toward the stage while I’m at a Lil’ Wayne concert, I’m not sure I’m redeeming that experience. Maybe when he gets back to the green room at the end of the show, Lil’ Wayne says to his crew, “Did you get the sense that there was a Christian in the crowd, redeeming the concert, cause I definitely picked up on that vibe.” Maybe that’s happening, but I have my doubts.
Best as I can tell, all rap music, and pretty much all current R&B, is about raw, extramarital sex - at least enough of it that I stopped trying to figure it out, so if you can name an exception, I don't care. Every time I see a spot for that TV show it's just stupid people being mean to stupider people - not and uplifting thing about it.
If we enjoy such things it is symbolic of our own sin. Moreover, people are always redeemable, and culture, as a collection of people, can be redeemed as the people are redeemed. But many elements of culture cannot be - they are symptoms of sin like the pox on a smallpox victim - you want them gone.
Anything else is an excuse to sin.