Friday, March 30, 2007

Ideas Have Consequences, citation #1

We must consider that we are in effect asking for a confession of guilt and an acceptance of sterner obligation; we are making demands in the name of the ideal or suprapersonal, and we cannot expect a more cordial welcome than disturbers of complacency have received in any other age. On the contrary, our welcome will rather be less today, for a century and a half of bourgeois ascendancy has produced a type of mind highly unreceptive to unsettling thoughts. Added to this is the egotism of modern man, fed by many springs, which will scarcely permit the humility needed for self-criticism.

From Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver

Its becoming more clear to me why Weaver's philosophy tends to polarize people. Although, it seems to me that some readers of Weaver have conflated the ideas of "transcendental principles" and "the one who transcends" into one concept so that they begin to assume that transcendental principles (interpreted by Weaver of course) ought to be the object of worship.


lilrabbi said...

Who is mad about what? And which readers are having such problems? Do you read a lot from readers of Weaver? Who are they? I'm not sure I'm seeing the connection between the quote and what you are saying people get confused about.

Matthew LaPine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew LaPine said...

comment updated. Criticism duly noted. mea culpa

as to the quote, I cited it because it helped me understand why dissidens is so vitriolic, which eluded me before. The rest of the comment refers more generally, to the book and why I disagree.

Matthew LaPine said...

Weaver was arguing for objective principles not a transcendent God. I think that fact is key to understanding objectives diversity.

Matthew LaPine said...

which is why I can hold to an objective, but still allow for diversity.

Matthew LaPine said...

with regard to aesthetics and culture

lilrabbi said...

Be careful not to assume that one author, or even two or three, has made Dissidens who he is. This may be true of younger folks and the "sexy calvinists", but it isn't true of the Hartogs, Bauders, and Dissidens of the world. I mean, even I have at least 3 authors that have influenced me:)

Don't you think that Plato and Aristotle argued for some things that were worth arguing for? Don't you think they did some things well? Are unbelievers excluded from hitting upon truths altogether?

I haven't read Weaver, I'll say that up front.

I'm not sure that we can discount what one says simply because he is an unbeliever. That is Elitist with a capital "E".

My, how the tables have turned;)hehehe

Daniel said...

I fully realize i'm jumping in the middle of an issue for which i have no context, and the relevance of my comment will more-than-likely be much removed from yours, but i'm posing a question to which i hope to get some response.
Though we are told and can observe that the Truth of God is somewhat transcendent in that it is declared in His creation, it does not seem to be so objectively observable. After all, it is only that which is revealed specifically to the individual, the subjective, which results in his salvation.
I know this is a very loaded statement which has roots in my thinking which i haven't yet discussed, but i thought, Matt, that you might share your thoughts on the nature of what "objectivity" is.

Matthew LaPine said...

I'm not sure that we can discount what one says simply because he is an unbeliever.
Completely agree.

Daniel and Jesse, the topic debated here is really old. I've read just enough of Elliot and Weaver to be familiar with their argumentation. I am working my way through Weaver. But by no means do I consider myself to be an expert here. I do plan to pursue this topic with more intensity this summer. The issue for me is this: if one holds to Platonic ideals it is very difficult to justify difference. In the Bible, I see a Christian church (and kingdom) which at some level celebrates it. My suspicion then is that we misunderstand the ideal. Weaver's ideal, or Plato's ideal is in reality one step removed from actuality. God is the objective truth. God is the basis for all language and meaning, and without him we all languish in a postmodern "ooze" (pun intended). And we only understand God from his revelation. In the Old Testament we did see forms specified for worship (for example). In the new testament it seems the criteria has shifted to spirit and truth. The Old Testament was culturally centered on the Jewish people (see Samaritan-Jewish controversy), the New homogenized. You look at Revelation, and you see worship from "every tribe and tongue." Why is diversity preserved? My attempt at an answer is that within the nature of God there is a measure of diversity (creativity perhaps?). While I will not say that all cultures are created equal and that all are basically good, I do think there are elements of goodness in all of them. They each have an allusive relationship to the nature of the objective, God himself. I think you'll find something like this in Harold Best, from Wheaton (and who knows if he's a believer... ;) ).

Matthew LaPine said...

Though we are told and can observe that the Truth of God is somewhat transcendent in that it is declared in His creation, it does not seem to be so objectively observable. After all, it is only that which is revealed specifically to the individual, the subjective, which results in his salvation.
Daniel, I also wanted to ask a little clarification on this. I do think there are aspects of God's revelation that are subjective, but I wouldn't place scripture in that category (the means by which men come to salvation). Authorial intent is a key principle here. God's meaning is intrinsically tied to himself, and his spirit is at work in those who hear his voice so that the salvific experience is based in objective truths. But principles for salvation and principles for art criticism are in different categories. Perhaps, I misread you, but just thought I'd mention that.

Daniel Friess said...

Thanks for your comments. I don't think that any of us claim to be authorities on any of these issues, but i think our discussing it is beneficial and partially what the edification of the body entails.
I'll try to clarify my statement a bit:
I don't believe there is any disputing that God is the objective truth, but i'm coming to look at objectivity as something trivial when we're talking about human perspective. Even the Word of God, God's special revelation to man, which cannot said to be subjective since it is "of no private interpretation" is only perceived by men individually, subjectively and is only effectual when it is appropriated by the individual.
I do believe God's meaning is intrinsically tied to Himself, but it does not seem that it is posited objectively. There is no objective salvation, there is no objective definition, even metaphysically, of how a relationship with God looks.
While God is certainly "objective," it seems that our only access to Him is "subjective," by our own person through the man Jesus Christ.

lilrabbi said...

It is a misunderstanding of culture to think that one person can be 'multi-cultural'. You have the culture given to you. You are a product of it. While a culture in the orient may have some positive elements, I can't partake. They are not mine. To think I can is the lie of Popular Culture.

Multi-Culturism is a farce. Popular Culture is a substitute culture. Culture isn't something you can put on like a new coat. Popular Culture asks us to do just that.

Eliot's "Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry" provides a good picture of this thinking. His "Christianity and Culture" is a more straightforward about things.

lilrabbi said...

As far as the 'ideal' - we may be thinking too much in terms of the intellect here. What is my ideal? What do I value, love and hate? Culture is formative. That is where my sensibilities and tastes and loves are formed.

I've heard tell of the "Metaphysical Dream". Have you gotten to that yet? I really like that idea. Our imaginations are important. It is by the imagination that we learn to value things as we do. All art is imaginitive and thus formative of our sensibilities and even our affections.

That is why music is a big deal. I don't think fundamentalists have it right. I don't think the YFs or New Evangelicals or conservative Evangelicals have it either. Its not about being emotive or not emotive. It is about the righ kind and the right strength of emotion we have in response to an object.

A little wide ranging there....Perhaps some of that should go into the thread on your fundism meeting from thursday (i've heard some reports about it, and am looking forward to reading your take).

Justin said...

You have the culture given to you. You are a product of it. While a culture in the orient may have some positive elements, I can't partake. They are not mine. To think I can is the lie of Popular Culture. Multi-Culturism is a farce. Popular Culture is a substitute culture. Culture isn't something you can put on like a new coat. Popular Culture asks us to do just that.


What if pop culture is your culture though? You said that culture is given you. But what does that look like? Must you be born in the culture to be considered apart of that culture. Think of it then from a salvation level. Nobody is ever born into a "Christian" culture. It is handed to them. All "Christian" cultures are different. And all "Christian" cultures change and adapt. I think it would be foolish to think that a culture can't change. It has to change in order to survive. Fundamentalism happens to be a culture that wants to stay the same and in the process will die if it does.

lilrabbi said...

That is precisely why I suggested at your blog that a definition of culture needs to be hammered out before the conversation can even begin. Otherwise we are trying to catch the wind in a fishnet.

"You cannot put on a new culture ready made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren: and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it."

[T. S. Eliot, Notes toward the Definition of Culture]

lilrabbi said...

As far as Pop Culture being one's culture, I think that is our problem. We use the term "culture" in a few different ways. In its broadest sense, culture is simply, "the way we do things around here". There are those who do things just like pop culture, so, in that sense, their culture is Pop Culture. If we go by the real idea of the word, culture is the cultivation of the good, true, and beautiful in our lives. It is the weeding out of the bad. It is work, like tending a garden. If that is what culture is, then Pop Culture is no culture at all. It is a substitute which man is all too happy to accept in place of real work.

Keying in on that idea of culture then, I see cultures of societies (the church, the town, or the state, etc.) as organic and growing (or degenerating). Each generation has the opportunity to build on the work of the previous...or in our case, to reject the degeneration of the previous and try to pick up the pieces for our own family, so that our kids can have a slightly better culture than our own, so our grandkids can have a slightly better culture than our kids, etc.

It takes time. Bach didn't just wake up one day and decide to be serious and meaningful. Successive generations built up a tradition-a culture-which Bach came into and used his genius to make it even greater. That is the work of culture.

That is what it looks like in my mind. The Eliot quote in the previous post is helpful.

lilrabbi said...

Okay, at the end of your comment, I think we are getting to the point.

You and others are seeing that Fundamentalism has a culture that is rapidly growing outdated. It is not news for me to say that already is and has been outdated for some time. But is "culture" something that is 'datable'?

Pop culture is, by its nature, constantly changing with the whims of every graduating highschool class. Pop culture is commerce-based and it changes yearly, even monthly. Why?

Real or serious culture is not so easily outdated. Why?

My view of aesthetics is based in the Imago Dei. Everything that is good, true, and beautiful is so because it contains or reflects a goodness, truth, or beauty of God.

Here is the key: Serious or real cultural expressions express something eternal. Pop culture does not and is incapable of doing so.

What has that to do with Fundamentalism's problems? Fundamentalism adopted expressions from its pop culture several generations ago.

What many Young Fundamentalists are shooting for is something that is more relevant - something that speaks to people today. They are doing what Fundamentalists did some time ago. They are borrowing and adopting from the Popular Culture of their time.

I was talking to a pastor tonight and I tried to tell him that I see what you see. That Fundamentalist worship is WORSE than what the YF's want. BOTH are adoptions of popular culture (a shallow substitute), but at least one is relevent to us today. We just don't "get" fundamentalist pop. It seems sappy and silly to us. At least we can identify with current pop, right?

I see what you see, and I agree with you that what the YF's want is better when you think of it like that.

But neither is very good. This is what Machen and Tozer tried to tell the fundamentalists in the first half of the last century, and fundamentalists followed the likes of Billy Sunday (read: Mark Driscoll) and J. Frank Norris (perhaps no modern comparison:P) instead of Machen and Tozer.

Fundamentalism has a culture that has been cultivated over the past century to be what it is today. It is full of domineering personalities, politics, and sappy archaic 'artistic' expressions for worship.

As far as worship - lets get back to something more serious-more eternal-so that we can eventually (or our great-grandkids can eventually) begin to produce artistic expressions that transport souls to eternal things.

And, again, if you have any doubt that real culture cannot just be put on like a new coat, look into the word. Cultivation takes time and effort.

Matthew LaPine said...

Jesse, I don't have time to comment right now. But I think fundamentally, to define culture and religion as the same thing is mistaken. You and Justin aren't really talking about the same topic. Jesse where biblically do you see this concept that culture and religion are the same thing? Also, in your opinion then, there cannot be a multicultural church either right? (how can people not share the same "metaphysical dream" and still coexist within one unified body?)

lilrabbi said...

Having a mult-cultural church? You'll have to define that. I worked at a secular college that was all about "diversity" and "multi-culturalism". I'm sure you can guess what they were all about.

Is this where people that come from different cultures can each do their own thing?

Is this where people that come from different cultures do a little of their own and a little of the others?

I will say this, if it is a meaningful expression of serious things, I think we can have an appreciation for those of other cultures. If we try to express their sentiments ourselves, it will be a cheap imitation because we do not have the same sensibilities.

And what culture, specifically, are you talking about? Are you trying to incorporate the good high culture from zimbabwe and from europe? Are you trying to incorporate hip-hop 'culture' and country/western 'culture'?

I know that Justin and I are talking about two different things. That's why I suggested we define things a little better.

Defining culture as the manifestation of one's religion is absolutely the best definition in my mind. Can you give me any reason why it doesn't work?

Finally, did the pagans who came to join Israel in the worship of Jehovah bring their own methods? Did Israel cater to their culture so that they could be "ministered to"?

In the new testament, did the Greeks and barbarians that were saved maintain their cultural expressions in worship, or did they have to give them up and do what the church was doing? And is it not true that the church's music was very much like Israel's music for a very long time? I'm not saying that the music Israel used is all that can ever be used. There are advances in culture, and then there are degenerations. Once we have the right framework in place of what culture is and does, and once we understand the relationship between man and God, I think it becomes fairly easy to discern what the advances are and what the degenerations are.

As is obvious to anyone, I am still working through these things in my own mind. This is good to talk about.

Justin said...

I guess my ultimate question isn't whether adapting to culture the best way of doing things. My ultimate question is is it wrong? Paul lays out a sense of Christian liberty that works within the current culture. Whether it is pop, christian, jewish, or the like, culture is culture. To the Romans, I became a Roman, to the Jews, a Jew.

But what I think you are saying Jesse is dont' do what the teens do. Don't do what the sinners of your day do. Separate from them because their culture is bad culture. But I just don't see Jesus doing this. He ate with the sinners, tax collectors, and whores and probably was hearing the filth of thier mouths but he didn't condemn them. Jesus wore the clothes of the day and attended partys that probably had "Jewish Contemporary Music."

So again back to my question...Is it wrong? Can we take things from our pop culture and apply them to ministry as the Fundamentalists of the past did? Is it a double standard to say no?

lilrabbi said...

Justin, I think this link summarizes my answer:

be sure to put the whole address in the address bar, I had to split it in half so it would fit.

~"Can we take things from our pop culture and apply them to ministry as the Fundamentalists of the past did? Is it a double standard to say no?"~

You know what? Fundamentalism used pop culture. Fundamentalism saw where that was going, and the put the brakes on. They didn't try to reclaim something meaningful, they tried to say where they were. That is where the double standard came in.

My point is that neither what they did, nor what they are doing is right.

Youth Pastors should absolutely flee from Pop Culture and should have their teens do the same.

On second thought, prepetuating a love of Pop Culture is a kind of job security for youth pastors. As long parents and adults are "out of touch" with pop culture's latest (as is quite normal), then the Youth Pastor still has a job to do.

To my way of thinking, if churches understood culture and acted accordingly, they wouldn't need Youth Pastors at all. Youth Pastors are there to inculcate the religion of the older generation in the minds of the younger generation. That is exactly what culture does. The problem is that the adults have a love of old pop culture and the kids have a love of new pop culture. There is a natural disconnect because neither the old or new pop culture is meaningful. It doesn't take one to eternal things.

If we train our sensibilities now, as adults, with meaningful things, and we train our kids' sensibilities with meaningful things, there is not that disconnect. If anything, our kids will be better off than we are. And all of that would happen without a youth pastor. There would be no need.

lilrabbi said...

Matt- I've been thinking more about your comment throughout today. Culture is the incarnation of one's religion. The group culture is the incarnation of that group's religion. The national culture is an incarnation of that group's religion.

To deny this is akin to the politician saying, "I'm pro-life in my religion, but not in my politics".

All of what we do is our culture.

One might say that "all of what we believe is our religion." But you and I both know that when 'the rubber meets the road' our actions don't line up with our beliefs. What we actually do is a result of what we may truly call our religion.

A man can assent to all that a fundamentalist baptist church says. That same man can spend every night on his business trips drinking, sleeping around, etc. etc. What may we say about his religion? His professed beliefs were not his beliefs at all. What he did betrayed what was in his heart.

One's religion IS what is in their heart. The true loves of one's soul are played out in the living of his life. Those loves are his religion, the living is his culture.

Being a good Calvinist, I really dislike coin analogies. But Eliot's saying that culture and religion are two sides of the same coin is right on.

You have a culture. It is the incarnation of your religion. They are inseperable.


Pop Culture has its religion. It is godless. It is fleeting. It is the dandelion in summer. It passes away.

If one adopts such vanity to save souls, what, may I ask, is he saving those souls to?

Matthew LaPine said...

Jesse, let me see if I can VERY briefly illustrate where we are similar and where we are different. The way you are defining culture really is an outworking of core values. This definition isn't really how the average person uses the word. We would both agree that Christianity has a "metaphysical dream" (if you will) which the church ought to embody. So in a real sense, using "culture" they way you do, the church ought to have a unique, Christian culture. But in the sense that I am using the word, (very roughly speaking, the ways and manners which people do things and express themselves), each people groups is going to be distinct. The problem as I see it is that people differ both in skill and in expression. You fail to realize two groups of people may express the same "metaphysical dream" in vastly different ways. Someone was telling a story about how Africans dance down the isle when carrying the offering plates. I would look like a fool doing that. You confuse ones values with one's culture. Your definition of culture is fundamentally flawed because religion is not so broadly defined as you make it. Not only this but biblical religion exists in the metaphysical and takes various expressions in the physical. You have no categories for dealing with difference other than to say it's bad. The problem is not in promoting excellence but rather in requiring it for spirituality. I would love to talk literature with you all day, but when you make fine culture the test of genuine spirituality you've missed it. I am concerned about the path down which this idealistic philosophy leads. I would urge you to seriously consider its flaws.

It's late and I've had a long day, so sorry if some of this doesn't make any sense.

Matthew LaPine said...

(1Corinthians 1:18-31 NAS95S)
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” 1Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 1Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 1Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 1Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 1Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 1Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 1Corinthians 1:29 so that no man may boast before God. 1Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 1Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.””

lilrabbi said...

You really should read Eliot's notes on culture. He covers all of your objections quite well. I'll see if I have time later tonight to post some pertinent quotes.

lilrabbi said...

sorry, it is "Notes toward a definition of culture"

Ryan Martin said...

Do you believe in reverence? Do you believe you can call some things reverent and other things irreverent?

Matthew LaPine said...

I believe some men are reverent and some are not

Ryan Martin said...

Was the question not simple enough?

Ryan Martin said...

Should I assume from your answer that the answer is No?

Matthew LaPine said...

Ryan, the question is not a simple one. On one hand things are things. But on the other everything has a context.

Matthew LaPine said...

Ryan, do you mind shooting me an email @

Justin said...


I read the paper by Bauder. First of all what does "This essay is by
Kevin T. Bauder president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses." He is the president of the school. Shouldn't they agree with him.

Second, this still doesn't answer my question. I guarantee you that I am not going to offend the teens that I work with by using Christian Contemporary Music at a meeting or event. So if that is the case, do I then have the liberty to use this music, if it isn't going to bring an offense.

Third, so Paul says that we offend those that place external rules on their lives and see it as sin. They are called weaker Christians because they have not see the freedom that Christ brings to their lives and they then place these rules on their lives to help them be spiritual in their eyes before God. That then gives me the greater responsibility as the stronger Christian to make sure that I do not offend. Are my methods then morally ok if they do not bring an offense? Or is it morally wrong?

I am going to be posting a new discussion on my blog that I would love to get your and anybody else that reads this' take.

Justin said...

prepetuating a love of Pop Culture is a kind of job security for youth pastors. As long parents and adults are "out of touch" with pop culture's latest (as is quite normal), then the Youth Pastor still has a job to do.

It is funny that you say this. Where does evangelization play into this? Whether you want to admit or not, pop culture is still apart of our lives. I find it odd that you insist on removing this culture from your life. It is in an through everything you do. The amish are the only ones that are not touched by this culture. If you wear clothes, drive a car, you are apart of pop culture. But I think your perspective is off. Yes we need to teach our own children about God and the Bible. However, we can't stop there and I believe, by your comments, you have stopped there. There is no understanding of the culture in which you live. There is no understanding of the culture in which your children will live. There is no understanding of those in which you are suppose to be evangelizing. Your only understanding is that they are wrong, their culture is wrong, and they are sinful. They need Jesus and they need Jesus now. You have no understanding that they are a lost soul and may know nothing of the Bible or Jesus. They become a number in your check off list and if they don't get saved they became a damned sinner that we will pray for. They don't become a friend. You have separated from your mission. You have separated from that which Christ tells you to be apart. Is this what you are saying?

lilrabbi said...

You first need to know what your freedoms in Christ are. I don't have the freedom to love the world. Therefore, even though the world isn't offended by its own culture (why would they be?), I still don't have the freedom to love it and use it. I don't think Christian Liberty comes into this very much at all.

The disclaimer is what it is. If Dr. John Hiii were to write a paper on his own, on topics that the faculty at Faith might disagree (they do disagree on things), he might put a similar disclaimer on it. It is just to say, "this is me talking, not necessarily the seminary."

lilrabbi said...

For your last post -

That is not at all what I am saying. Are we here to get some quick decisions? I'm here to worship God and to help others do the same. If teens are saved into a religion where irreverence for God reigns supreme, I have not done my job.

Sin permeates every part of me. Can you believe that I would try to get rid of it? You must understand that culture is the manifestation of one's religion. What is your religion? What ought your culture be like? Justin, simply put, this is a "by their fruits you shall know them" kind of thing.

If you use irreverent and meaningless activities to get kids saved, what are you saving them from? Nothing. You are validating the sin at the heart of their culture.

I do understand the culture I live in. I do understand that it permeates every part of me. I weep for it. It is a terrible thing to come to know. To still love it is the sign of not understanding it as it is.

I understand their culture. THAT is what makes me want them to be saved from it.

As far as my comment specifically about Youth Pastors, I was pointing out the vicious and inconquerable cycle that we have created. I wasn't even speaking about evangelisation, per se. I was speaking of the primary responsibilities of parents (after worshipping God for themselves), which is to raise their children to fear God. Their love of Pop Culture has created this sadly laughable situation.

lilrabbi said...


This is pretty good:

Justin said...

on the issue of Multicultural churches, I posted an article on my blog. Check it out.

secondly, to Jesse. Do you live in the world or outside of the world? Weird question but here is what I mean. Is it our job to lead them to Jesus to save them from their cultural or their sin? I am trying to understand your core belief in culture and I think it is since, culture "is the manifestation of one's religion" since the religion of the world is atheism, paganism, idol worship, anything not Christian, their culture then is rooted in sin and therefore dismissed as being sinful and no good. Your culture then, being root in the Bible and Jesus is good. You are acting as a lifeguard, rescuing people from their culture and making them like your culture. Am I right on that?

lilrabbi said...

No, that isn't quite it. You see, I have the same culture they have. And so do you. And it is bad. I'm working on mine so my kids have something better, that's for sure. I want people to be saved from their sins, and I want Christians cast off all of their sinful ways.

I don't think one can grasp what I believe about culture in a few blog comments. I certainly can't explain it that efficiently!

Justin said...

have you written something then that tells me what you believe then on culture. I don't want to read something by bauder I want to read your words. Your understanding all of this because I am having a hard time understanding your definition of "culture." To be honest it does sound like you are living in your own culture that you have your family in and make them then spectators to the culture in which they are subcultured. Secluded so that the other culture doesn't get anything on the subculture. How then do you understand culture if you don't live within that culture?

lilrabbi said...

No, you're not getting at all. I understand the culture we all are a part of because we are all a part of it. It isn't good. Of course I'm a part of it. How can I not be? That is the nature of culture. Trust me, I wish it wasn't part of me, but that wasn't my choice.

That is one of the problems with the way you are talking about culture, as if it were something that is "take it or leave it."

I can point you to the books I'm reading where I'm getting this. Would that suffice?

I have not yet written anything very well. Do you want me to try?

Remember, I am still waiting for you to give a definition of culture, or at least tell me of a book where I can find it. And I asked first :-) First comment on your blog....

You should read Bauder and Dissidens. You should read Eliot and Lewis. You should read Tolkien's essays and see what Barfield had to say. They are all worth reading. Much more so than anything that the emerging church has to tell us.

tie.crawler said...

Woah there, kids. It's getting hot in here.

First of all, I can't believe I just spent the last ten minutes reading all that.

Second, I think the definition of culture as "the manifestation of your religion" is out of whack. Religion is obviously part of the culture in which you live, but not the be-all-end-all. As far as I can tell, that definition fundamentally changes the meaning of the word "religion" from "systematized structure of actions of relating to God" to "theology", or "anything and everything one thinks about God."

In other words, yes, culture is a manifestation of your theology, but not your religion.

Well, there's my two cents. Suggestion? Stop looking for culture in books and go find it in the guy down the street who doesn't know Jesus.

Jenna said...

Matt, I totally hear you on the whole "Ideas have consequences thing". It was definitely Joey's idea to sit here and read all these comments, and the consequence of that is that it's now really late and we're both going to be tired for church in the morning.

lilrabbi said...

"As far as I can tell, that definition fundamentally changes the meaning of the word "religion" from "systematized structure of actions of relating to God" to "theology", or "anything and everything one thinks about God.""

That is exactly the point. Isn't it disturbing that anything and everything we think about God and His creation is what forms our culture? It makes us consider our culture (our own, personally, at least to begin with) what its end is.

How we think and feel about God is the most important thing about us, for that is our religion. Everything we do comes from that source.

It may be the legacy of Fundamentalism's arminian roots that we think subscribing to a set of doctrinal statements is what constitutes our faith. It is deeper than that, ask Jonathan Edwards (or Paul!).

Joey, I agree with you that this conversation wasn't very good. For my part, I need to be more efficient with my words:-)

Justin said...

Here is my challenge then. Jesse lets both write something and then critique eachother. I don't think that we are going to come to an agreement on what culture is and how we interact with culture. Let's take the next few weeks and create a document that explains our definition of culture and our interactions within it and then read and critique the other. Let me know on my blog when you are down. I will probably be putting up posts on mine to possibly glean insight from others that read my blog. Sound good!

lilrabbi said...

sounds good!