Monday, October 14, 2013

Thinking About Consuming Culture

A helpful review of Brett McCracken's, Gray Matters.

Owen Strachan:
The basic point is this: I, like many young evangelicals, don't need more worldliness. I need less. That applies to a good number of movies and television shows I could watch but don't, because frankly they won't help me. I teach college students, and I can say with great confidence that their chief need is Christward conformity and transformation. 
Cultural watcher and engager though I am, I cannot help but think that the Scripture has a great deal more to say about gospel-driven holiness than about cultural engagement. We are surely free to consume and enjoy cultural goods. But, starting with the Scripture's doctrine of God, I am called to lose myself in marveling at the holiness of the Lord (Isa. 6:3). With God's grace looming large in all that I do, I'm called to be set apart (Rom. 12:2), killing sin constantly (Col. 3:1-11), making no provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14), and putting on all the holy armor of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-20). "Without holiness no one will see the Lord," Hebrews 12:14 says. To use Miroslav Volf's language, I think there's more of a "hard difference" between the church and culture than we might suppose. 
This last reality can perhaps help us apply McCracken's numerous insights. It is not cultural, worldly artifacts that are most pleasurable. Holiness itself is pure delight (Psalm 16:11). This is what makes the prospect of life in the new heavens and new earth so exciting: We will taste the full sweetness, and luxuriate in the aesthetic splendor, of holiness. We will be, as Jonathan Edwards once said, "wrapt up" in God forever, enjoying all the fruits of a renewed city whose light is the slain Lamb. 
Christian freedom entails several revolutionary realities: liberation from the law, from guilt, from a moralistic—but demoralized—way of life. Above all, though, Christian freedom is the freedom to obey Christ, and in so doing to savor the goodness of God above all else.
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