Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Next Episode is Coming...

You get all inspired... and then you go to work, and they STEAL all your inspiration. They zap you clean.

Well, it isn't totally an unconscious choice. You want to do your best at work, and when you are done... you haven't got any energy left for anything else.

The next installment is coming... and I've had some thoughts for spin-off installments. Plus there is going to be an episode on The Pioneer Spirit over at my other blog: Simplicity.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Christianity: Flying in the Face of Popular Culture, Part V

Christianity -vs- Popular Culture

The Christian Counter Culture

It is difficult to think of Christianity as a "counter culture" when you supposedly have a "Christian President" and when your legal system, political system, judicial system, etc. all like to try to take "stands" that are apparently Christian.

Last election all of the candidates had to show their credentials as "good solid Christians" to get the votes they wanted to secure. And really, you had Christian voting against Christian for their favorite version of Christian politics.

Yet at the same time, you only have to go outside your house, or watch the news to see that the culture all around us is predominantly NOT Christian.

I could drop off into a soliloqy about "how bad things have gotten" but I am a firm believer that things right now are probably almost exactly the same as they were in Constantinople in the 900s (at the height of the Byzantine Christian Empire) or in England under King James or some other such thing. All those in power seem to want to put on the best face of being a Christain, but society and culture itself is decidedly pagan.

So, the True Christian stands out as a sore thumb in such a world, does he not?
Society takes "freedom of Choice" and emmerses itself in consumerism. The Christian, on the other hand takes "freedom of Choice" and choses to make certain sacrafices in order to help others. Society takes "freedom of expression" and wanders about the streets half-clothed, or with ear-rings piercing our necks (think Frankenstein, here folks), or blogs endlessly with scribbling that isn't fit for the bathroom wall. The Christian takes "freedom of expression" and can use it to point beyond the filth and mire of this world into a supernatural realm where everything cases to exist but God.

Yet, somehow, in the midst of it all, we develop a distinctly "Christian" sub culture that is not, in fact, the least bit Christian. We think it is "Christian" because it listens to Christian music, and goes to Christian stores, and "drinks milk from a Christian cow" to paraphrase our brother-among-the-saints Steve Taylor.

I have always been a rebel against that little Christian sub culture. I couldn't stand the way my mom and dad had stacks of Christian 8-track tapes playing in the living room, while the Tele-evangelist preached from the TV in the den, and the local radio-pastor preached from the radio in the kitchen. It was like that all my growing up years. Some of you folks were shocked to see what Tammy Baker looked like when Jim and Tammy finally came face to face with God and found themselves criminals. But I wasn't. I watched her morph over the years from someone wearing just a little too much hairspray and looking a lot like my own pastor's wife, into the Babylon Whore she finally became at the peak of her career when she was on the cover of Christian Record Albums.

Enter, the Christian counter culture... that's how I came to love Daniel Amos singing things like "Autographs for the sick" or "You think I built this for me?" - and Randy Stonehill singing "American fast food, what a stupid way to die!" and Larry Norman singing "drinking wiskey from a paper cup..." and Steve Taylor singing "I want to be a clone"

But those guys were only a start down the right path. St. Basil walking on the water of the Moscow river (when it wasn't frozen) or putting out the fire in Novgorod from hundreds of miles away (in Moscow) or making the Prince Ivan Grozny (Ivan "The Terrible") cower before him - now that's Christian counter-culture for you! St. Seraphim kneeling on a rock for prayer 100 days in a row, and feeding the bears that came to him in the woods... THERE's Christian counter culture for you.

It flies in the face of the things we like to think of as normal, even as Christians.

I believe it pretty much goes without saying that wanting to have bigger and better goes against God's will. (Even though I DO want to have bigger and better.) It certainly makes sense when wanting to have "what's paid for" is your goal instead. (Sure, I get a raise: so what do I do? Go buy a bigger house? And when I say "buy" of course, I mean I make larger monthly payments on something that is luxurious to live in.) Or rather, do I make larger payments on what I currently live in so that I can get it paid off? What does the Scripture say?

Pretty clear, huh?