Monday, August 18, 2008

The Irresistable Revolution - Chapter 1

Although the beginning of this book is set in an American culture, I could definitely relate to several aspects of it. I would not say Christianity is really safe in France, but it is easy to stay safe and live an un-risky faith. Fortunately, what Shane Claiborne defines as spiritual bulimia is less likely to happen to the extent he describes it, simply because Christianity is not nearly as wealthy or popular in France.
I’ve had many of the same questions the author was asking, as far as the consistency of my church’s works and Jesus’ teachings and works.
I really think my church should be more involved in social justice, getting out of the comfort bubble.

Fandom - Chapter 1

I found Sandvoss’ analysis of the interaction of readers – fans in the instance – and texts very interesting. According to the author, readers to not simply sheepishly accept everything they read, they creatively work with it, using information from different sources and media. This intertextuality seems to have been emphasized a lot thanks to the immergence and convergence of new media, especially the internet.

I have been wondering how this type of “conversation” with texts, biblical texts or Christian literature, would be possible in today’s Christianity, and what it could look like. Sadly, it seems the main ingredient for this, passion, is missing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Week 10 - Wednesday

It was interesting to try and apply the model of a culture that involves producers, texts, consumers and everyday life to actual situations. While thinking about this through the week, I realized this model can help understanding the functioning of society at different scales, from the small community of a church, or even to some extent of a family, to a larger and more complex frame such as we have studied in class.

This can help understand the how a culture works, and eventually to see what has to be transformed or challenged.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Week 10 - Monday

What stroke me in this class is the attitude of the media (the producers in that cyclical model). They claim that they are simply showing what is really going on in the consumer’s everyday life; they are reflecting what is actually happening. However, even in this documentary we can see that the contrast between actual youth life and “MTV” youth life. The boy that the marketers from MTV tried to “know” at the beginning of the documentary had nothing to do with the text, the represented youth that actually came out of the interview.

I can’t help but wonder about these marketers. Do they not realize what is going on? Do they close their eyes on what is going on or are they blind to it?

It seems they are determined to continue feeding that downward spiral. It seems like one of those desperate situations that only God can use, or make right. I feel completely helpless.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Week 9 - Final Paper Outline v2

1 - Description of the culture:

A/ Historical background: Religious upbringing, counter-cultural stance, rejection of Christian values

B/ Strong postmodern influence, self reflectiveness, irony and openness to dialog

C/ Quest for authenticity

2 - Expression of the Gospel in this culture:

A/ How does the Gospel answer to the needs of this culture?

B/ Building theology together: the synthetic model

C/ An authentic theology, rooted in experience: the transcendental model

3 - How can the Church address this issue?

A/ Is the church as we know it relevant in this situation?

B/ Importance of relationship and exchange

C/ Natural creation of home “churches”

Week 9 - Response to Ben's Blog - Wednesday

“What if the Church could come to understand our culture well enough where we could present Christianity with the right methods and language?”

I have mixed thoughts about this comment. Church does indeed have to know the culture it lives in, and adapt itself to speak in ways that touches it. All too often, churches are simply out of the world and have no idea of the real issues and struggles of people from “the outside”, bringing irrelevant or sometimes even harmful answers.

However, knowledge of a specific culture should not bring the church to some kind of Christian marketing. We have to be careful that our evangelizing comes out of authentic love and compassion for lost souls, the poor and the hurt, and not just because we are trying to sell Christianity.

As we saw in the documentary, it’s easy to be interested in people for a personal gain, anyone can do it. We have to mark the difference by doing it out of genuine love.

Week 9 - Bevans, Chapter 9

The counter-cultural model of contextualization, as its name implies so clearly, has the goal to confront directly a culture. Christians are to hold dearly and firmly to their beliefs and sacraments and to testify that an alternative way of thinking and living is possible. The general idea is that the context is flawed and sinful, and can altogether not be trusted, and the Church has to be apart from the World but constantly questioning it and challenging it to change for the better.

I feel like this model is some kind of extreme or accentuated imaged of the church as it is now, in France at least. I must say that at first it made me uncomfortable. I can’t imagine myself trying to share the Gospel with this mindset, without sounding narrow minded or sectarian. It would have to be in very specific conditions and with people with whom I have built a strong relationship already. It seems to me like this model used indelicately could do more harm than good on an individual level.

However, thinking more about it I found a new and refreshing way of seeing it. Our culture is indeed corrupted and stained by sin. There is abuse, corruption, inequality and perversion all around us. Using this model, the Church can hold a prophetic role to society as a whole and denounce the wrongdoings of our culture.