Monday, November 2, 2009

A New Evangelical Consituency

"In the last two or three decades evangelicals have discovered culture. That actually sounds more flattering than I intend. I would welcome a serious discussion about culture. We should be exploring what it is and how it works, rather than just looking at polls to see what is hot. A serious engagement with culture, though, is not what most evangelicals are about.

"What they want to know about culture is simple and easy to unearth. They want to know what the trends and fashions are that are ruffling the surface of contemporary life. They have no interest at all in what lies beneath the trends, none on how our modernized culture in the West shapes personal horizons, produces appetites, and provides us ways of processing the meaning of life. All of that seems like pretty complex and useless stuff. Pragmatists to the last drop of blood, these evangelicals are now in the cultural waters, not to understand what is there, but to get some movement. They are there with their surfboards trying to get a little forward motion as each tiny ripple makes its way toward the shore. This quest for success, which passes under the language of 'relevance,' is what is partitioning the evangelical world into its three segments."

David Wells, The Courage to be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World, p.3



Laurie M. said...

Excellent insight. I wouldn't have known what he was talking about if I wasn't married to the man I'm married to, who's taught me to really listen, and to not hide in the Christian subculture.

Very thought provoking.

jeri said...

David Wells' "No Place for Truth" was an eye opener (putting it mildly) for me six years ago or so. This book is sort of a compilation of all his books on the subject. I see in the church this kind of interest in culture (i.e. testing which way the cultural winds are blowing in order to be "relevant"). Marketers versus truth-lovers, it seems.