Monday, March 5, 2007

Reformission #4a: "Elvis and Eden," evaluating culture, part 1

It has been hard to post daily so I’m going to try something new to have more, smaller posts. As I go through The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll, I’m going to spend a few posts on each chapter, instead of trying to summarize one chapter per post. It may be too drawn out, but it will be more manageable to do it regularly. I’m just not getting it done otherwise. So here goes…

Chapter 4 in Radical Reformission deals with culture and he begins with the Fall from Genesis 3. Driscoll states, “People create culture because God made them to fill, work, and keep the earth. But because of sin, the innate desire God has placed within us to create culture has become bent and crooked” (p. 93). I think that’s why I liked the movie Crash. Lots of pain and sin and evil – people are a mess, but these same people are capable of good and beauty, like each of us who make up culture.

Since culture is made up of people who are created in God’s image and yet fallen, it is something we need to evaluate. This section will deal with “how to evaluate culture: thoughts, values, and experiences”…

Much of what people do in culture is based on three things: thoughts, values, and experiences. Driscoll calls them “tribes.” Thoughts theoretically determine why we do things, thinking it is based upon a cognitive cause and effect. While it is a factor, Driscoll insists most people live contradictions – like when I cut out sugar to lose weight, but eat bags of chips and take multiple trips to various fast food joints.

Next is values, which are “widely assumed, but rarely articulated or defended” (p. 95). People can value independence or family or religious tradition. Driscoll says the way to uncover these values is to see what people spend their time, passion, and money on. The only trick here is that people can confuse ideals for values. Ideals are what you wish you did, values are what you do. Christians ideally read their Bible, but that doesn’t mean it is valued.

Finally, experiences shape people within culture. These experiences can be chosen, or thrust upon people. When we live closely within our culture and get clarity on these areas, we can see the obstacles and opportunities for the gospel.

“What are the dominant thoughts, values, and life experiences that have shaped you and your church? What are the similarities between your thoughts, values, and experiences and those of the average lost person in your culture?”

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