Earlier this week, I posted a list of films that I am eager to see over the coming few months. But what I didn’t note, at the time of my original posting, however, is a trend that I spotted as I was busy compiling the list. In a Western world that is largely built upon the cultural foundations of the Enlightenment Project – in world that purports to believe in the essential goodness of humanity and its inevitable progress towards a technologically fueled utopian future – why are so many of our films and movies apocalyptic and/or dystopian tales of a future gone horribly wrong? Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: culture
Over the past few weeks, Pastor Louie Giglio’s name has risen to the forefront of the cultural mainstream, as many of the talking heads on the political left and right have sought to interpret his intended involvement with the inaugural activities of President Obama. Initially selected by the President’s team for his ongoing efforts to address human trafficking, Giglio quickly came under heavy scrutiny for a sermon he had once preached on the subject of homosexuality. Acting quickly and of his own accord, Giglio attempted to squelch the expanding brush fire by electing to withdraw himself from the planned activities.
For these reasons and more, I recently decided to read and review Louie Giglio’s I Am Not, But I Know I Am. For in these days where one’s understanding of homosexuality has become the new litmus test for one’s fitness to engage in the national discussion, it seems to me that we would all benefit from a conscious decision to spend some time with the debatable subject before we carelessly (and perhaps needlessly) jettison him or her overboard as some kind of cultural jetsam. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday I argued that every culture, or subculture, has a worldview, and any group’s worldview is embodied by a metanarrative or myth. Both worldview and myth function at a pre-cognitive level, relatively out of sight. These in turn produce a set of basic beliefs, and at this level the group is actively aware of the beliefs as well as the symbols and praxis that sustain the beliefs. Therefore, examining a group’s use of symbols and praxis should tell you something about the underlying worldview to which they adhere. So the question is whether Evangelicals, based upon an examination of their use of symbols and praxis, are American, Christian or an unhealthy combination of the two?
Read the rest of this entry »
Our views of the world require us to tell stories that help explain the world, and our stories produce beliefs, symbols and praxis by which we live. In theory, we should be able to reverse the flow of this thinking, examining the symbols and praxis of any group to get an idea about their underlying worldview. I contend that Evangelicals, by their adherence to certain symbols and praxis, show themselves to be more American than Christian. Read the rest of this entry »
Should we baptize infants or restrict baptism to adult, confessing believers? Should we use hymns or contemporary songs? Should we use choirs or rock bands? Should we be memorial or more sacramental in our Eucharistic practice? Should we think and speak of Jesus as our friend or ancient ancestor? Does the Spirit proceed from the Son? What does the word gospel mean? What do these questions have in common? Contextual theology and practice. Read the rest of this entry »
We have been discussing the need for evangelicals to develop an evangelical, political philosophy in this series of posts. Previously, we discussed the problem of present evangelical engagement with the political culture and the need for a coherent vision for such engagement, using Ron Sider’s book The Scandal of Evangelical Politics as a jumping off point. The last post briefly surveyed the history of Christian engagement with culture, and I argued that evangelicals needed to root themselves in the tradition of this engagement as a guide for future direction. But, there is a problem; even if evangelicals could decide which elements of the tradition are worth retaining and who gets to decide such matters (both of which are very large problems that will need to be addressed later), we still need to articulate our position to the broader culture. What authority generates our political convictions: scripture, reason, experience or some combination thereof? How can we meaningfully engage such a pluralistic society? How can we articulate “our” political message to Hindus, Buddhists, Jewish people, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, and other people holding to different worldviews? Read the rest of this entry »
Given the recent discussion of politics on this blog, by all of its authors, and the upcoming Presidential election, I thought it would be fruitful to have a discussion about the how and why of evangelical political activism. I chose a book written by Ron Sider as a jumping off point for this discussion. His book is titled, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World? I hope to post articles regarding this topic once a week, moving through Sider’s book. In his first chapter, Sider sketches a brief history of evangelical activism and the need for evangelicals to develop a theology for political engagement. Read the rest of this entry »
Today, as we continue our series on No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology, we finally come to the place where Dr. Wells begins to lay out the core of his argument. And while one might expect him to begin with evangelical concerns such as the loss of biblical literacy or the degradation of personal piety, he actually begins with a far more insidious problem that he identifies as the “world cliché culture.” Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s be honest. The Grey wasn’t ever going to be a movie that was marketed towards Christian audiences. The use of raw, guttural language is only slightly less pervasive than that found in your average Tarantino film. And as for the violence? Well, how many Christians typically revel in a film in which the main characters are brutally eliminated in often grotesque fashion by a pack of ravenous wolves? No. This is most certainly not Fireproof and it is definitely not Courageous. This is not filmmaking that is methodically geared to sentimentally reinforce everything a Christian already believes to be true. This is filmmaking on the level of Roland Joffe’s The Mission or Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. And for Christians that love the medium of film and for Christians that long for a film to seriously explore the theological problem of pain, The Grey is exactly the kind of movie that you are looking to see. It’s a film that refuses to offer overly-simplistic answers; and it’s a film that gives equal voice to both the faithful and the atheist alike. Consider the words of writer/director Joe Carnahan:
“If an atheist sees this film, they say, ‘There’s no way [Liam Neeson’s character] believes in God.’ [But when] the most hardcore Christian sees this film, they say, ‘Absolutely he believes in God!’ … This is the way of the universe and certainly it’s the way of nature. Nothing is given. Nothing is certain. And I think that as you get older you start to think about things … There are things that start to occur to you where you go, ‘What’s out there? What’s waiting for me? What’s the afterlife look like? Is there an afterlife?’” 
If that kind of mentality doesn’t excite you as a Christian fan of film, than this is not likely the movie for you to see. But if you appreciate harrowing survivalist tales in which man must not only face the demons of nature, but his fragile belief in the existence and goodness of the divine, The Grey is is a must-see. Raw, uncompromising, and built with a fine-tuned precision towards a beautifully executed smash-cut ending, The Grey should rightfully take its place alongside the very best films of 2012.
This film has been rated R by the MPAA for for violence/disturbing content including bloody images, and for pervasive language