CHRIST AND CULTURE I’ve been thinking a lot recently about culture and its place in our faith.
Sometimes we say “culture” to mean “High Culture”, such as Opera or Art Galleries, but really culture is just the things we do and think.
Culture is a tricky beast because although it’s easy to see it in others when they are so different to us (E.g. The Armish), it can be nearly impossible to see it in ourselves. Why are we fascinated by the weather? Why is reading the paper over someone’s shoulder rude? Why do we find inequality foul, and yet still pay women less? Why do we deify scientists, and idolise popstars?
All our thoughts and actions are learnt from our culture. Nothing is safe. Even our language shapes how we think and reflects something of our culture too. Since it is so pervasive it begs the question: How do Christian’s respond to our culture? And that includes, church culture too!
Is culture a gift of God, or a corruption of God’s original plan? Does culture shape how we view God, or does it get in the way? Are our ethics simply cultural preferences, or is there some eternal feature? Is it even possible to have a faith free from cultural influence?
So what do you think? How do you think that our culture and our faith inter-relate? And how can we tell the difference between culture and Christianity?
Want to think about this more? I recommend the seminal book “Christ and Culture” by Richard Niebuhr. It’s a brilliant and thought provoking read.
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