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Cultural Innovators…

Innovation is a subset of creativity. It is about taking something that exists and transforming it into something new that is equally if not more extraordinary and beautiful.

If you know anything about religious culture, it often has an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. We’re the chosen few and the rest of the world is going to hell. Keep yourselves pure by staying away from the culture.

However over and over again in the Scriptures, it describes Jesus and the people of God engaging the culture. Though what they said and did at times were counter-cultural, they did it in a way that encountered-culture.

In Titus 1:12-13, Paul recites and approves the words of a pagan prophet. The book of Acts describes Paul in Athens quoting and affirming the Greek poets of the time. One would have to imagine that for Paul to do so, he must have been attentive to, studied, and reflected upon the people, the literature and art of his culture.

The Apostle Paul was an innovator.

He was able to look into the world around him. See the traces of God that was there. Re-frame it and translate it back to the culture in a way that allowed them to see the beauty and wonder of God in more rich and profound ways.

One of the assignments was to find a song on the radio (ie. not a ‘Christian” song), where you discover deep spiritual truths of God within… got any?

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Joeie Kung April 23, 2007, 9:39 pm

    Mmh. Good post.

    A slight variation on what you’re talking about:

    I agree with you on that there should be a relationship between Christians and culture and taking that point further, I think Christians or the Church should have a significant influence on encouraging culture to go in a positive direction (ie. Church as Culture Leader).

    Example: The whole green bent in politics nowadays; is the Church only taking notice of our poor environmental stewardship only after our Western culture has taken notice or has and is the Church advocating for not only good stewardship of environment, but also other Biblical mandates such as helping the orphans and the widows etc.?

    Anyways, so I agree with you that we can not only see God in the “secular” things of life, but we can flip that around and we can see the health of our culture through its artistic expressions. What is the big blockade from Westerners from seeing God?

    And so haha, it’s kind of a different bent; I couldn’t think of any specific songs that helped me to see a deep truth of God except for those cheesy songs haha like Faith Hill or R. Kelly or something. 🙂 So I thought of a song that perfectly captures the spiritual condition of Canada/the US nowadays: Britney Spears – I’m a slave 4 u!

    I know I may be young
    But I’ve got feelings too
    And I need to do what I feel like doing
    So let me go and just listen

    I’m a slave for you
    I cannot hold it
    I cannot control it
    I’m a slave for you
    I won’t deny it
    I’m not trying to hide it

    And a Biblical parallel:
    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
    Galatians 5:1

    Haha. Sorry this was a little off-topic. But good discussion starter! What songs did people mention?

  • Lon April 24, 2007, 8:18 am

    Joeie, great thoughts! You make me want to flip it around again, and say maybe the culture is a reflection of what the church is or isn’t doing.

    Not that the church can really take full responsibility, but if our role is redeeming every realm of creation, then some of what remains ‘twisted’ in our culture might be due to our neglect.

    But you’re right on, i believe that every person is inherently capable of beauty, just as they are of sin. There are plenty of amazing values that the culture leads in, and the church is just trying to catch up, when it should have always been the other way around.

    interesting song choice… everything is just waiting to be redeemed!

  • Alan May 8, 2007, 2:06 pm

    I’m a bit behind in my blog reading… I’ve always felt that the urban poets had the market on the eyes of Christ in the world. here are two of my favourites, but there are many, many more…

    City High – What Would You Do?
    woe to you, pharisees… tie them down and do not lift a finger…

    Tupac – Changes
    when i was a child, i talked, thought, reasoned like a child. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror… Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

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