catapult magazine

catapult magazine


evangelical posture on engaging the world


Jan 28 2004
09:47 pm

I’m not sure I agree, Laryn. While it is true that no one is forcing anyone to view or participate in any one particular product of culture, I think I remember hearing somewhere that “culture is not optional”. Culture is the sum total of everything people are doing, everywhere, at any given time, and it includes politics and social justice issues. I agree that the dilemma is more pronounced in the area of law, but I don’t think it is “much more treacherous”. We all participate in culture, unless we are making a deliberate attempt to live in a box, or a cork-lined room as Proust did. But then again, Proust wrote a tremendous book while he was living in that room which has had a tremendous impact on culture, perhaps in spite of his attempt to cut himself off from it, and it impacts us whether or not we have read it. Every single one of us who speaks the English language is impacted by Shakespeare every single day whether or not we have ever seen or read one of his plays. This ties in to my comment about free will. Each one of us has to behave as though our choices will impact culture as a whole, because they can.

And yes, vanlee, there is an absolute truth, but interpretations are plural – one body of Christ, but a multitude of expressions. We have part of the truth, but no one person or denomination can lay claim to possession of absolute truth. We see through a glass, darkly. This is a reality that the Roman Catholic tradition describes as “mystery”, something closely related to the imagination, and also generally undervalued, if not entirely ignored by the evangelical tradition. Evangelical Christianity has placed so much emphasis on having THE ANSWER to EVERYTHING, that it feels threatened by the notion of having questions.

And no, I don’t hate or disparage logic (or western civ). It is a useful tool. What I object to is an over-emphasis on logic at the expense of the imagination, something I personally blame on Descartes, another person who spent a lot of time trying to live in a box.

And, yes, this is still Henry, not Blisster.