Friday, November 21, 2014


Culture v Culture

Dale M. Coulter writes some heady stuff:
The issue of populism in the Evangelical ethos raises a concern for the need to differentiate between pop culture as folk culture and pop culture as mass culture. At its best, Evangelicalism seeks to preserve and foster folk culture and the critics of Evangelical piety need to recognize this strength, because it is through the ongoing propagation of folk culture that the disenchanting effects of modernity will be overcome ultimately. I say this knowing full well that the strong temptation within Evangelicalism is to traffic in the forms of mass culture, and it has succumbed to that temptation on more than one occasion.
So he introduces his thesis and defends the use of folk culture with a line I think is extremely important:
As Alvin Plantinga has recently reiterated, citing Calvin’s sensus divinitatis, religious experience more than theist argument may be the most important ground of belief.
And there in lies the rub with this very good, if very intellectual post. Most of the Evangelical confusion between folk and mass culture is coming from people chasing experience that will but absolutely no thought to the fine distinction drawn here. That is to say the people that most need to read and consider this piece never will.

I don't know what it is but there is something in us that tends to see things in either/or propositions. Evangelicalism is not lead by people that would think this hard about much of anything. Not only that, many of them would reject thinking this hard about anything as a blockage of the action of the Holy Spirit. Much of that has to do with the adoption of mass culture which is, if you look at it very long, completely thoughtless.

Which raises the question, can good ideas like this actually fix things or are we at a point where destruction/rebuilding is the only option?


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