Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For my Safety??

Recently, my town installed a large decorative fountain in the local park in an effort to spruce up the neighborhood. About a week after the fountain was built, this sign appeared next to the fountain.

I believe this sign is a strikingly honest reflection of the nature of the law. The law presents itself to me under the guise of safety ("Please keep off the fountain"). The law says that I would be happier and less stressed if I were to follow it. I would be a better person, I would no longer have any strained relationships, I would have career success, etc. The law says it's simply looking out for me.

But beneath this veneer of charity always lies the curse of conditionality ("Violators will be prosecuted"). Were I to falter in any way, were I to violate the simple statutes in place for my benefit, then I cannot expect to get off with a warning. No, transgression of the law demands prosecution.

The same thing is true when one offer a simple suggestion or piece of advice to a friend. It may be that such advice is told to them for their own good. That new girlfriend may be totally wrong for him, that tie may not go with his shirt and that college may be worst place she can go. But when one's advice is not followed, anger, indifference, passive-aggressive manipulation, or the self-righteous “I told you so” will always follow.

All this demonstrates that what seems to be given for my good (advice) only leads to destruction. Or as St. Paul says: "for if a law had been given which could make alive , then righteousness would indeed be by the law" (Galatians 3:21).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guitar Praise for Kids!

Reformed writer Doug Wilson once said, "Whatever the world can do, we can do five years later and not as well." It seems that the Christian sub-culture is always trying to mimic secular pop-culture.

When the Bosstones were popular, American Evangelical Christianity offered the Supertones. When Disney's "Remember the Titans" was popular, evangelical Cheesianity offered "Facing the Giants." Instead of Bon Jovi, try Stryper... (A full comparison list can be found here)

Now, it seems instead of "Rock Band" or "Guitar Hero" I introduce to you....

It's not that I'm against Christian art (so long as it's good...), but much of Christian art exists as an alternative to secular art. As one reviewer of "Guitar Praise" wrote, "This was the game I wanted my kids to have, since I gave their guitar hero away." All such attempts are marked by by self-contradiction: in attempting to isolate oneself from secular culture by providing a Christian alternative one is still influence by secular culture.

More importantly, the creation of a Christian sub-culture as insulation from secular culture is founded upon a high anthropology. It says that moral problems happen because of all the "bad influences" of secular society. So if one can eliminate the bad influences, then life would be fine. Yet Jesus said that "nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.' (Mark 7:15)" Society is not a scapegoat for one's problems.