John Santic is back with a substantive blog post on how, in spite of an apparent commitment to standing “against culture”, much of Christian marketing & publishing simply mirrors it. (Neither John nor I support the notion of Christians standing against culture.) Eldest son Liam , with a parallel thought, said in a weekend blog post, that perhaps the initials CCM, rather than standing for Contemporary Christian Music, actually stood for “Christian Copies of the Mainstream.” (I just wish modern Christian “worship” songwriters would set their sites a little higher than Barney…)
…christian culture often mirrors secular culture – even when christian culture explicitly goes to war against secular culture – is pretty evident. The premise that an “us vs them” posturing suggests is that the secular is godless and our things Christian are blessed.
When I reflect on this, I can’t help but see no difference from the secular. On the surface a stern rejection of the secular is evident; however,
beneath the surface the Christian sub-culture operates by the same values with a Christian twist. It doesn’t make much sense. What might a truly missional engagement with culture (for the purpose of redeeming it, not condemning it) look like?
I’m a regular blog reader of Thomas Nelson President and CEO, Michael Hyatt. I found this blog post of his from a couple of weeks ago rather disquieting – Ten Reasons I’m Excited About Christian Retail. I had planned to write a response that was Ten Reasons I’m Offended by Christian Retail…and I may yet.
Hyatt identifies the Purpose Drive Life, the Prayer of Jabez and Left Behind as having
demonstrated that there bzillions of people who are hungry for more. Even a book like The Secret, though not Christian, is creating an enormous interest in spiritual content.
Even “The Secret“!!! Good grief, what PDL, Jabez and Left Behind indicate is that there are millions of people focussed on themselves – who are prime candidates to purchase Osteen’s epic, Your Best Life Now – prime candidates to swallow gnostic heresy hook, line and sinker – because life is all about them.
Hyatt goes on to talk about how happy he is that,
Christianity has great visibility in the public square. There has never been a time in the history of our country when Christians had greater access to the media. People like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer have huge audiences. You can hardly turn on a talk show—from Dr. Phil to Fox News—without seeing Christians well represented.
Good grief, again. The Neo-Gnostics Osteen and Meyer fit right in to the Oprahized world of The Secret. The question of whether Christianity is well-represented by these folk is open to vigorous debate. And much of the MSM “Christian visibility” is that of agenda’s from folk like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Focus on the Family.
It will be telling to see the lasting impact of real Christian stories like the Wilberforce drama, Amazing Grace, briefly appearing on screens in the US and Canada. Wilberforce dedicated his life to something far greater than himself – that isn’t the message that sells to a culture that is all about “ME”.
Returning to John Santic’s point, let me suggest that much of the success of Christian retail is as a direct result of how effectively it mimics the “Me-driven” boomer culture – a culture that, although it still has power, is long past it’s “best before date”. The Civic Generation of the Emerging/NetGen/Millenials is changing everything – and, as has been the norm for the last one hundred and fifty years, the majority of Western Christians are a couple of decades behind the curve. Would that it were otherwise.