The QuestionsThis is my first ever blog and I don't want it to appear negative but it is something which came from a discussion at a Bible Study last night.
Where do we draw the line? I've been on Facebook for a while now and it has been great to meet up with old friends and make new ones. The most upsetting thing on there for me is to see some of the young people who we have met through the years. They still profess faith, yet from their posts, sometimes language and certainly photos; there is often no difference in life-style to other youngsters. Kids who have never entered a church, let alone made a commitment to Christ... frankly there are no difference. Clubbing, drink and sadly often frankly a lack of decent clothing, seems to be the norm. I have just a sneaking suspicion that some of Paul's letters did have a bit to say about life-style and modesty.
People who know me, know that I haven't buried my head in the sands of time, not a prude and try to keep abreast of today’s world. However, I do think somewhere along the line our youngsters need to be taught that the FRUIT ought to be growing in their lives.
Lynn Green one of the leaders of Youth with a Mission UK said that “the last teenagers able to rebel where born in the 60s” It’s a funny old statement, what do I think he means.
Well Culture is a changing process, sometime imperceptibly but changing nevertheless, sometime changing radically with great upheaval often time that is linked to National and sometimes international event such as the last world ward changed the roles of Women in the UK probably for ever, things like the spinning Jenny, the internal combustion engine, and mass productions, and the printing press have all had massive cultural changing effects. We shouldn’t forget Television and the Internet being the latest of those cultural changing events.
So why am I going on about Culture, well we make culture but culture makes us, and right now we have had particularly for young people a huge cultural shifts. We have for a long time, particularly if you were born before the 60’s lived in what is loosely called in cultural terms a modernistic period. What that means in rough terms is that we think about things like cause and effect. We assume beginnings and endings, we have a value system that is, and at least we think it is linked to some kind of logic. For those of us who would call ourselves Christians, or Muslims, or even Communists we have what is known as a meta-narrative view of the world. What that means is that we think in terms of the big picture, which is what I have alluded to above. Beginning, endings, and cause and effect, we therefore place experiences that we have into a context of that meta-narrative, we do that even if we have never used the word before!
Post modernists are not interested in meta-narratives, they are interested in the present, the present experience is all important ‘if it feels good do it’ that means that discussions on right or wrong don’t apply, you just are, it means that value systems are on a sliding scale depending on what is ‘happening’. Again another leader from a large youth organisation in the UK said at a lecture I attended, and he said it with some sadness, “it is not unusual to see a group of the greatest teen and twenties you would want to meet in one of our training sessions on a Friday Night, praising God, and thoroughly immersed in worship, only to find that on Saturday Night they are fully immersed in a drunken party, and move of to sleep with the nights partner, and find no conflict in any of the events. Why is that, they are truly post modern people, the present is the import thing! All events are equally valid especially if they are happening to you. If you listen to current ‘culture speak’ as I try to do, you will not hear words like Sin, Wrong, Right, you will hear words like behaviour, unusual behaviour, unacceptable behaviour in current society, you should note that when the press used the word evil in relationship to a particularly nasty killing recently people where up in arms saying that the ‘evil’ word should never be used, particularly in reference to children. No wonder Lynn says young people can not rebel any more, there is nothing to rebel again, and there are just different kinds of behaviour. So is the Question posed by David Butcher correct, yes it is; there is a change in the cultural behaviour of today’s teens and twenties! If there is nothing wrong or sinful you can not rebel, if it’s only your different, preferred behaviour what is there to rebel against?
So is there anything we can do
I think so. Culture is made up, influenced, changed by the four legs that hold it up:
2. Media, newspapers, Art TV, Internet, Advertising, music, in fact all media things
4. Education, and in there I would put the Family
The church that I was part of before the 60’s actively discouraged its Christian young people from getting involved with things like the media, they were evil things. Even today there are those that would say, stay out of politics if you are a Christian, I run Christian Schools because I believe what I am saying here, yet my biggest opposition often come from Christians. Can you be in business and still be a Christian some others would ask. Yet these are the thing that mould and make the culture what it is. We have no right to complain if we have opted out of the moulding process. We need to get back in there and remould it, we need to seek the Kingdom of God in the big wide world, and we need to find the Kingdom, find the values of the Kingdom, which at the end of the day are highly beneficial to all people.
Those who are already Post Modernist – what hope is there?
It seems to me that most of the ancient world of Paul’s day was probably more post modern that it was modern, and Paul got on with it, and those early Christians turned the world upside down, at least that what the Roman Governor Plinny writing to Cesar said. The other good news is that post modernist love stories, but sadly they don’t understand that there is a big story, one with a meta-narrative, its actually HIS story and there is a plan there is consequences, and there is a purpose. I think we have to keep telling the good news stories to these people, because life style described by David is very short lived and very destructive, and young people need to urgently hear that there is a good story for them too!
I believe that in today’s world understanding culture is very important, so can I ask you to look at my latest book Culture Clash, published by: iUniverse, ISBN Paperback is 978-0-595-50707-8 in E-book version ISBN 978-0-595-61619-0 available from most good bookshops and certainly Amazon.UK and USA. And even in the UK from Tesco on line.
CULTURE CLASH: A book, a trainer's manual and a student manual on the subject of culture for continuous professional development
21st March 2010
Editor A. Brooks