14 March 2008

be the train

I've been in conversation lately. A bit with people I know -- my friend Brian, and, as always, those little podcast people, who live in my iPod. Brian and I got started after he recently returned from the re:create conference. He was all fired up after hearing Jon Tyson from Origins Church in New York City. Jon's message: “As Christians, we’re not called to change the world, we are called to create culture.”

Too often, as Christians and Christian organizations we are no more than cultural karaoke singers, mimicing already dated, middle of the road, pop culture. Music for example. I love music. To learn that WalMart is the largest music retailer in the United States distresses me. (Warning: I now plan to sound like a music snob.) WalMart does not have good music. As I heard a writer from WIRED magazine say today, "That means that people who hate good music buy the most music." If the available music was restricted to what is available at WalMart or what one finds in the Curcuit City ad in their Sunday paper, the world would be a very, very, very musicly poor place. (And I wouldn't struggle with an iTunes addiction) It appears to me that the majority of Christian "artists" and leaders are floating down that very same mainstream, yet often a few minutes behind their non-Christian counterparts.

As well, just taking the name "emergent" or "missional" in an attempt to find the "hip factor," isn't cutting it either. Listen to this:
My problem with many of these emerging church projects is that they are still attempting to bring church up-to-date by “trainspotting” some aspect of culture and making church fit it. I want to argue that in the Emergent Church the emphasis will be on being the train, rather than trainspotting: rather than trying to import culture into church and make it “cool,” we need instead to become ‘wombs of the divine’ and completely rebirth the church into a host culture.
Kester Brewin, Signs of Emergence (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2007), 92

I have a question for you:
how do we begin creating culture? Or, in other words, how do we "Become the train?"

People, be the train.

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