Posts Tagged ‘culture’

I did very little studying in high school and backed into a history minor in college. I took the two required courses and discovered I loved the teachers in that department. So I signed up for more.  By the time I started to acquire study skills I was halfway to a minor. As a result, I know just enough history to make me dangerous.  Deep dives in some areas, pretty sketchy in others.

My knowledge of St. Patrick and/or the Irish is pretty  limited.  I know enough to understand that our culture wears green on March 17.  I have a Celtic prayer book that I sometimes use.   And I know that the Irish club soccer team from Lexington, KY I often played against in the 80s and early 90s tended to play in the air instead of the ground, even thought they were not particularly tall.

Beyond that, I have been intrigued by Thomas Cahill’s book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, but not enough to read it cover to cover.  And I have really appreciated Dr. George Hunter’s book, The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Win the West…Again.   This one I have read several times.

To oversimplify Hunter’s thesis, he suggests that we live in a culture closer to the Celtic world (spiritual, but without knowledge or awareness of Christ) rather than Rome.  As a result, St. Patrick’s community-based, relationally driven discipleship along the way to evangelism will be more effective than the proclamational evangelism that precedes discipleship that developed due to persecution in the Roman world. 

Let me quote from the preface of his book…and tell me what you think about what he is saying and how it might impact youth ministry in 2012.

The Church, in the western world, faces populations who are increasingly “secular” — people with no Christian memory, who don’t know what we Christians are talking about.  These populations are increasingly “urban” — and out of touch with God’s natural revelation.”  These populations are increasingly “post-modern”; they have graduated from Enlightenment ideology and are more peer-driven, feeling driven, and right-brained than their forebears.

These populations are increasingly “neo-barbarian”; they lack “refinement” or “class” and their lives are often out of control.  These populations are increasingly receptive–exploring worldview options from Astrology to Zen–and are often looking “in all the wrong places” to make sense of their lives and find their soul’s true home.  

Many Western church leaders are in denial; they plan and do church as though next year will be 1957.  Furthermore, most of the Western church leaders who are not in denial do not know how to engage the epidemic numbeers of secular, post-modern, neo-barbarians outside (and inside) their churches.  Moreover, the very few who do know what to do are intuitive geniuses who cannot teach others what they know (or charismatic leaders who cannot yet be cloned).”

Any thoughts?  Is he on the right track? I really respect this blog’s audience…what thoughts, questions or insights are you willing to share?

Tim Tebow has quickly replaced Rebekah Black, Justin Bieber, and a few other “notables” as the person about whom everyone has to have an opinion.  We read and hear responses all over the map – from deep respect to deep disgust with lots of bad theology, nonsense and bandwagon jumping thrown in.   This phenomenon has provided a wonderful opportunity to think and talk about faith in the public arena.  It has exposed some of us.  And it has provided some fascinating insight into our culture.

Walt Mueller of the Center for Parent Youth Understanding posted of discussing Tebow in his class through the grid of Rienhold Neibuhr’s five approaches to culture.  I don’t know about you, but I would have enjoyed sitting in that class.

One insight I enjoyed came from a brilliant professor at Southern Illinois University who is a good friend.  Part of his insight was to suggest that Tebow’s appeal comes from the fact that “Too few of us are willing to take the risks associated with invoking God or Jesus unless it’s a safe environment (e.g., church, family). As a result, many Christians live vicariously through people like Tebow and lay claim to his boldness by singing his praises.”

What do you think?  About Tim Tebow?  Sure that’s fair game.  But even more, what do you think our reaction to him says about us!?!