Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gospel Coalition: "Uncritically Missional"

Eric Tonjes has written a challenging piece over at the Gospel Coalition blog that I'm sharing at length. You can read the entirety of the piece here: "All Dressed Up and Nothing To Say".
For example, I occasionally read "missional" publications, and for all their insistence on dialoging with culture, what I see mostly applauds it. I hear lectures about finding God in Sex and the City, horror movies, and mass-market hip-hop, but after having found God there no one seems to notice the sexual scars, splatter porn, and glorified thuggery. I try to have conversations about art or music or best-selling novels and discover that many Christian friends still cannot wrestle with them in a cruciform way. Put simply, we have lost our sense of cultural critique.

I understand that many of us are reacting to being told something that was once wrong is now okay. Teetotalers sometimes turn into drunks once they're allowed to have a pint or two. Many of us seem to have an angry little fundamentalist minister on our shoulders still chastising us for worldly pursuits, and we're doing everything possible to avoid considering he might be just a little bit right. The problem is, while a call for cultural engagement set us free from a moralistic avoidance mentality, cultural engagement has too easily been replaced by acculturation.

Put another way, Christians ought to be engaged with culture so we can challenge it, remake it, and—at times—bear prophetic witness against it. We, like our Savior, walk in the world as witnesses to a greater world to come. To be in it, but not of it. Instead, what started as putting on our suits to get in the door has turned into an attempt to blend into the crowd. We are all dressed up with nothing to say.


Carol said...

Eric goes on to say, "We can biblically justify seeking to be culturally aware and engaged, we can not justify being culturally entertained."

Does all entertainment need to have some gospel driven purpose to be in God's will?

Jared Totten said...

No. I think all of his critiques are aimed at cultural involvement under the guise of being "missional".

If our participation in the culture stops at the point of being entertained, then we are not being missional and we should at least be honest about it.