This is the fifth part of my series with our adults on “Faith & Culture”. In week one we defined faith as both a subjective trusting or resting in God by the gracious work of His Spirit in us AS WELL AS the language or content of that trust by which we understand ourselves, the world, and God (ie tradition and doctrine).
In week two we defined culture (borrowing from Andy Crouch) as what we make of the world, how we make sense of the world, and what we leave behind for others to make a new world with. There is a creative & cultivative element to culture, an interpretive element, and a contributive element that extend beyond ourselves.
In week three I spent some time taking our group through H. Richard Neibuhr’s five models of Christ and Culture. They offered us a running commentary on how Christians have sought to engage the cultures they’ve been apart of. I also spent some time demonstrating that none of the models give us a full and final depiction of how faith and culture relate to one another.
In week four we turned our eyes to culture in the biblical-story. We saw that God was the first culture-maker, and that the setting for all culture-making East of Eden is fallen creation where culture-making came to a critical mass in the urbanization project at Babel. After God dispersed the nations he gave them a witness in Israel which he created out of the nothingness of Abram and Sarah. A witness that eventually failed and was answered by God with the gift of his Son who created a new people (true Israel) who eventually receive a heavenly city descending in the new heavens and new earth.
The last two weeks of our class is going to be spent on looking at two areas which our interest in culture is typically heightened by – art & politics. DISCLAIMER: I will be approaching them from a person’s perspective who is shaped himself by the biblical-story so there is a self-aware leve of exclussion in the way I frame these last two talks. As there has been in the others. The framing question for my talk on art is simple: What is art? Art is how we beautify our fallen world through embodying the biblical-story within it while leaving behind a pallet for others to make a new world with.
Here’s the pdf handout I’m using as a supplement to the discussion this coming Sunday; FAITH SEEKING ART. A good part of my talk will be done using some original pieces of art that my wife and I purchased a year ago – one from Mako called “Shalom” and another from Gaston Locklear called “Leaving the City.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the handout…criticism’s, suggestions, and advice.