Thursday, January 26, 2017

Division or Counter-Culture?

John R.W. Stott wrote a book entitled Christian Counter-Culture in 1978.  Using Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Stott declared that the Christian faith had become assimilated to the “way things are,” thus contradicting its very essence.  “For the essential theme of the whole Bible from beginning to end is that God’s historical purpose is to call out a people for himself,” Stott wrote, “that this people is a ‘holy’ people, set apart from the world to belong to him and to obey him; and that its vocation is to be true to its identity, that is, to be ‘holy’ or ‘different’….” 

Theodore Roszak wrote The Making of the Counter-Culture  in 1969, a decade prior to Stott’s book.  Roszak wrote of the “flower children” and the “hippies” of the 60’s—that younger generation of the time who wanted peace, not war, who hungered for authentic relationships of love, and despised the superficiality of materialism and conformism.  They sensed there was a “reality” far bigger than the trivialities of society and sought to find that transcendent dimension through meditation, drugs or sex.  They could not accommodate themselves to the status quo; they could not acclimate themselves to the prevailing culture.  They were alienated.  In their quest for an alternative, they coined the word “counter-culture.”  Most of those children of the sixties are now a part of the status quo, close to retirement, ready to collect social security and enroll in Medicare.  Was there ever, really, a counter-culture?

Recently, a woman (anti-Trump) created a disturbance on an airplane by badgering the passenger (pro-Trump) who sat next to her.  She was removed from the plane with much booing and cheers from the other passengers.  A friend (anti-Trump) feels harassed in the workplace because of the badgering of co-workers (pro-Trump).  The management has declared the workplace a “non-political environment” in order to avoid conflict and to accomplish their mission.  Twitter and Facebook and other social media is a hotbed for the anti- and the pro-Trump debate.  Name-calling and belittling on both sides is rampant.  Neither the pro-Trump or the anti-Trump movements represent a counter-culture at present because in many cases they are very much alike.  However, both sides seem to believe that they represent the “called out” ones, the  “holy,” and the different, the special messengers of God.

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