Cultural Critique, A Blind Spot

Tom Sine writes:

Why don’t we discuss the influences of the values of the dominant culture at church? Why don’t we discuss the stories so many of us buy into and their influence on us and our kids?  Why don’t we explore the major role these stories play in defining our notions of the good life to which we aspire to come home?

I think part of the answer is that the Western church has historically taken a limited view of conversion.  In most churches we are taught that following Christ involves transforming our spiritual lives and our moral values and helping us with our relationships.  We rarely hear that God might want to transform our cultural values too.  Part of the reason for this is that too many of us have been conditioned to unconsciously baptize those values instead of question them.

Let me give you onc concrete example.  Christian parents want what’s best for their kids.  No problem there.  However, because of the huge influence on modern culture, most parents tend to define “what’s best” primarily in economic terms.  As we have worked on college campuses, the number one barrier students report that restrains them from going into missions, believe it or not, is their Christian parents. The message is, “I did not spend $80 thousand on your education for you to head off to a refugee project in Ethiopia.  You get your career under way, buy your home, your car, start investing in retirement accounts, and then after you are established, you can visit mission projects in Africa during your vacation.”  The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, p.77.

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