RSS

Arquivo da tag: cultura

Igreja, cemitério da lucidez

Moisés Gomes, no blog  Mera palavra

Quando olhamos para a história da civilização, nos deparamos com mitos que foram cridos, vivenciados e expirados com o tempo por ferir e vitimar seres vivos, seja animais ou humanos. Sacrifícios, ofertas e inimigos foram mortos por uma crença de tradição mística, baseada numa religião ou apenas numa cultura.

O tempo passa, a evolução da consciência desponta, mas a cadeia que engrena o mito>obediência>barbárie, é o carro-chefe do pensamento, não importa o nível de informação e tecnologia que se irrompe e que pode servir para o bem do Homem.

Organizamos-nos com neuroses e dispostos a nos encabrestar. Somos obcecados por tudo que aplaque nossa psicopatia gerada pela ausência de felicidade, que por sua vez, esta sensação de infelicidade, é gerada pelo modo de vida que vivemos na sociedade. Submetemos-nos a qualquer formato social que possa oferecer entorpecimento e isso se dá através do abuso do intelecto frágil de pessoas que não são estimuladas a pensar com lógica.

A igreja cristã, com raras exceções, é o maior exemplo desta conexão alienante. Não precisa ir muito longe para se deparar com uma igreja onde o ambiente é desconexo da realidade, perfilando um lugar quase alienígena e irracional. Os jovens, totalmente devotos e entorpecidos por aquele ambiente, renegam a lógica e a lucidez até o seu atrofio. Tornam-se os bobos-da-corte, se contentando com a mais esquisita rotina e com cultos de linguagens irracionais, ilógicas e não poucas vezes, cômicas.

É constatável que a ambiência é nutrida pelo tipo de povo que freqüenta, que por sua vez, desistiu ou nunca teve chance de ventilar a coerência, assim, a maior bizarrice dita no púlpito é correspondida com améns sem questionamentos óbvios e balizamentos simples. Por conseguinte, não nos deixa dúvida, que tais lugares, são as maiores congregações de alienados e possuem um poder enorme de adoecer pessoas, privando-as do mundo real, dando-lhes entorpecimentos que os fazem tocar os seus barcos e ao mesmo tempo, sustentando e alimentando a congregação insana.

Ao dizer isso, eu não digo que tais pessoas são infelizes, muito pelo contrário, elas se sentem bem e defendem o servilismo com força. Hasteiam bandeiras e se orgulham do submundo infantil, porém doentil. Aplacam as nuvens turvas da vida real, com um mundo de ficção. Um mundo de mentira, escravismo, capachismo e infantilismo. Não poucas vezes, temos a sensação de estarmos entrando num hospício, onde seus anárquicos pacientes mantêm o controle da situação, nus, rodando no alto, suas camisas de força.

Eles riem e aplaudem o vergonhoso, dizem amém para a mentira descarada, que existe para atingir, perversamente, determinados fins e arregaçam as mangas por declararem falência de seus intelectos a fim de serem direcionados como marionetes na terra da bênção encantada.

Alguns se confinam em ambientes hostis pela propaganda enganosa e se deixam fustigar pelos apaches da fé. Nem de longe se pode comparar com os anseios repercutidos por Jesus Cristo, pois, apesar da nossa necessidade de forjar muletas, Cristo nunca se fez valer de uma conexão doentia para lidar com o Homem.

A busca de uma resposta que satisfaça ao Homem através da fé não passa por engrenagens que prendem pessoas num ambiente paralelo, provido de jargões, atrativos, gincanas, e estratégias bizarras. Nesses ambientes, o interlocutor é o mais alienígena. Misturam suor, esbravejos, ameaças, tom de inteligência e uma latente preocupação de “incendiar a igreja” com seus esforços, descomunalmente, esquisitos.

Toda essa engrenagem, que se torna o “carro-chefe do pensamento”, não é nova, mas encantam e arrebatam milhares todos os dias. É duro ter de conviver com isso, ainda que seja de longe, no outro lado da calçada; de fora e dissociado até da mínima linha que possa interligar.

A igreja evangélica no Brasil (com raras exceções) faz o bem à altura que faz o mal. Ela pode fazer com que o ladrão do morro pare de roubar, mas o prende num mundo sinistro que o tornará um ser do bem, cheio de doenças que não afetam a sociedade, apenas o torna esquisito e alienado.

Para nós brasileiros, é isso que vale, não é?

Se não pode libertar, entorpeça com qualquer coisa que o neutralize. Ofereça uma liberdade condicionada a loucura e autentique com o emblema “liberdade em Cristo”.

É incrível como existem pessoas que respeitam esse tipo de fórceps que extrai a lucidez. Uma coisa é respeitar o direito de eles existirem e praticarem suas aberrações, outra, é dizer que isso serve, pois “o importante é que a igreja está cheia de gente ouvindo a palavra”. Valha-me Deus. Dizer que a má fé que extorque o dinheiro e a lucidez do ser humano serve a boa fé é um grande erro.

“O verdadeiro trabalho cristão e aquilo que no mundo dá os maiores frutos, consistem em ações negativas: não fazer o que é contrário a Deus e à consciência”  (Leon Tolstói, anarquista russo).

Fonte: PAVABLOG

Anúncios
 
1 comentário

Publicado por em 23/01/2012 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , ,

Passaporte australiano terá terceira opção de gênero

Os passaportes australianos irão disponibilizar três opções de gênero: homem, mulher e indeterminado, em uma mudança que visa acabar com a discriminação contra os transexuais.

O governo australiano anunciou que cidadãos transexuais e aqueles com sexualidade ambígua poderão agora optar pelo género indefinido “X”, numa escolha que terá de ser baseada em relatórios médicos.

Até agora, a escolha só poderia ser feita entre homem e mulher, e ninguém estava autorizado a mudar a escolha de gênero no passaporte sem se submeter a uma operação de mudança de sexo.

“A maioria das pessoas dá como fato a possibilidade de viajar livremente e sem medo de discriminação. Essa medida estende as mesmas liberdades para australianos de diversos sexos e gêneros”, disse àBBC o procurador-geral Robert McClelland.

*Com informações da Agência Lusa

Fonte: OPERA MUNDI

 
Comentários desativados em Passaporte australiano terá terceira opção de gênero

Publicado por em 16/09/2011 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , , , ,

Culture: Enemy or Friend?

Steve Rabey

Pop culture has always accentuated differences between younger and older generations. For example, people who during the sixties rebelled against their parents by listening to artists like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones now look on with horror as their own children listen to artists like Limp Bizkit and Outkast.

But during the last quarter of the 20th century, pop culture illustrated differences of another kind. For much of this period, some conservative Christians saw culture as the enemy of the church in a vast “culture war,” while other believers saw culture as a symptom—but not a major cause—of the often confusing mix of faith and faithlessness that characterized the age.

Two important episodes from the period illustrate these divergent approaches.

In 1988, filmmaker Martin Scorsese released his movie, The Last Temptation of Christ, which he described as a “deeply religious film.” But some evangelicals didn’t see it that way. Across America, theaters that showed the film faced pickets from believers who thought that the film was critical of orthodox Christianity. And Campus Crusade for Christ president Bill Bright offered to buy the original print of the film for $10 million so he could destroy it.

In 1999, Gen X filmmaker Kevin Smith, a self-confessed Catholic whose youthful imagination was steeped in comic books and videos, released a movie he called Dogma, which he described as a comedic love letter to the church and the sacred mysteries of life.

As with The Last Temptation of Christ, there were many angry believers who tried to halt the film’s release. This time, it was the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, and the Southern Baptist Convention who declared the film blasphemous.

But Dogma, which is certainly controversial, generated a different kind of response from many members of the emerging generations who embraced the film’s unusual mix of piety and profanity.

The film stars Matt Damon as Loki and Ben Affleck as Bartleby, two fallen angels with bad attitudes who were banished by God to the wasteland of Wisconsin. Now they’ll do anything to get back home to heaven, exploiting a loophole in Roman Catholic canon law which threatens the sovereignty of God and the very existence of the cosmos.

The film’s wacky cast of characters includes the glitzy angel Metatron (Alan Rickman), a woman named Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) who works in a Pittsburgh abortion clinic, a muse who works in a strip bar to make ends meet (Salma Hayek), Rufus, a previously unknown 13th disciple of Jesus who was allegedly edited out of the Bible because he was black (comedian Chris Rock), and Cardinal Glick (George Carlin), whose program to reinvigorate the church uses contemporary advertising and marketing techniques to replace the “depressing” image of the crucifix with a statue called “Buddy Christ,” which features a smiling Jesus with upraised thumbs.

Smith, a film school dropout and former video store clerk, used credit cards to make his 1994 debut, Clerks, an acclaimed “slacker opus.” In that film’s closing credits, Smith thanks God, “without whom this couldn’t have been done.” His later films included 1995’s Mallrats and 1997’s Chasing Amy.

Dogma explores Smith’s strong, but often ambivalent, feelings about religion. Although he has repeatedly affirmed his belief in God and in Jesus Christ, Smith is much less certain about the church. Like Bethany, a central character in Dogma, he goes to church but isn’t always sure why and is usually bored. “It’s called the Celebration of the Mass, but it’s no party,” he said in an Internet interview. “No one’s having a good time.”

Critics liked Dogma almost as much as many conservative Christians hated it. But it was Catholic priest and author Andrew Greeley who may have best summarized the film’s mix of the silly and the sublime.

“Is God offended by the movie?” Greeley asked in a column he wrote for Religion News Service. “Unlike those religious fanatics who are trying to ban the film, I claim no special access to the mind of the deity. I suspect, however, that God understands that the humor of the film is a prelude to making some very serious, and funny, theological points.”

Out of the cocoon

Few members of the emerging generations boycotted the film. Many went to see it, some more than once. And some even used the film’s release as an opportunity to talk to unbelievers about contemporary perceptions of Christianity. One of these is a friend of mine named Patton Dodd, who works as a full-time writer for a Colorado Springs mega-church and in his spare time directs “The Colorado Springs Film Society,” an informal group of film fans who meet once a month to share their love of movies.

You may have seen an article Patton wrote for issue 6.2 of the magazine Re:Generation Quarterly. The article, entitled, “Can Colorado Springs Save Itself?” describes the confusion some local evangelicals experience when Patton tells them that the film society isn’t an evangelistic outreach to unbelievers, but merely a gathering place for film buffs. This in a city that is home to dozens of evangelical parachurch organizations that have spawned a never-ending series of city-wide evangelistic efforts. “No one in the group knows that we are Christians,” Patton says, “and we don’t plan on doing anything to show that we are other than forming relationships with people and letting the Gospel speak through our lives.”

Responses like this show that, unlike older generations of Christian “culture warriors,” many younger believers focus less on battling pop culture and spend more time decoding its metaphysical messages. They prefer to see pop culture as both a barometer and influencer of mainstream tastes and beliefs; and instead of seeking to silence or suppress it, they seek to understand it and utilize it in their ministries.

Throughout the 90s, spiritual themes increasingly found their way into pop culture products like books, musical recordings, and films. Often, these pop culture artifacts raised deep and probing questions about the practice of Christianity (such as Robert Duvall’s The Apostle) or showed positive portrayals of non-Christian faiths such as Tibettan Buddhism (Kundun, or Seven Years in Tibet).

Gen X authors Todd Hahn and David Verhaagen described the new approach in their book, GenXers after God.

“On the surface we appear to be concerned with promoting godliness. However, a sharper analysis suggests that these skirmishes are more often motivated by fear. We are fearful that as Christians we are losing our place at the head of the table as the dominant molders and shapers of culture’s mindset…

In our culture, we were comfortable with being the leaders of the consensus worldview. This is no longer true and it frightens us. In response we have lashed out. We have fought and adopted the language of war. The problem is that we have savaged the very ones that need the gospel. We have demonized them and turned them into our enemies.”

Perhaps as young new leaders begin charting a course for the church in the new millennium, they will guide us to an approach toward pop culture that learns from the failures of the “culture war” approach.

Steve Rabey is a Colorado writer. His most recent book is Milestones: 50 Events that Shaped American Evangelicals in the 20th Century(Broadman & Holman).

Fonte: YOUTH SPECIALTIES

 
Comentários desativados em Culture: Enemy or Friend?

Publicado por em 11/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

God: A Pop Culture Superstar

Steve Rabey

He’s a brainy astrophysicist (played by movie star Bill Pullman). She’s a brainy nun (played by movie star Natascha McElhone).

Together these two sleuths star in NBC’s new [started April 13] supernatural thriller series, where they investigate weird and unusual phenomena that just may signal the end of the world!

It’s like The X-Files meets Constantine in this good-versus-evil drama that includes a daughter that may have been murdered by a Satan worshipper and all kinds of supernatural shenanigans.

But then NBC already knows spirituality sells; this is the network that brought us Allison Dubois (Patricia Arquette), the average wife and mom who’s a psychic investigator on the network’s top-rated Medium, a show that was introduced in January and has racked up stellar ratings ever since.

It’s like the crime thriller Cold Case meets the psychic gab-fest Crossing Over, only Medium is based on the escapades of a reallife psychic who touts her own successes on her own web site (www.allisondubois.com).

But the former undisputed queen of TV spirituality is Joan of Arcadia, the hit CBS show that’s now enjoying its second year of popularity. God works in mysterious ways, but seldom so mysterious as on Joan of Arcadia, which features a high school student who regularly receives messages from God.

Joan’s God is a shape-shifting deity who manifests himself/herself in numerous human guises and delivers directives to sensitive Joan from the mouths of fellow students, a grumpy cafeteria worker, a bespectacled man who lectures students on sexuality, or even the guy at the local convenience store.

God’s divine assignments are equally varied. In one show he commands Joan to build a small boat in her family’s garage. In another she’s told to transcend her low-key personality by trying out for her school’s cheerleading squad. And in another, she’s directed to host a party at her house while her parents are out of town (an act that represents a direct violation of their orders).

Like Touched By An Angel, its long-running supernatural predecessor, Joan of Arcadia is punctuated by frequent divine interventions. But there are significant differences between the two shows. Touched producer Martha Williamson, who attends the evangelical Church on the Way, wanted her show to reflect the spirit of Jesus. Joan creator Barbara Hall, who was raised Methodist and spent years away from the faith before converting to Catholicism, is more content with a less doctrinaire deity. “I’m Catholic, but the show’s not Catholic,” she told The New York Times in 2003. “Joan isn’t Catholic. God isn’t Catholic.”

A Los Angeles Times article described the “ten commandments” Hall created as guidelines for the show. The first commandment says, “God cannot directly intervene,” while the third says, “God can never identify one religion as being right.”

A spiritual cornucopia

Recent TV seasons have witnessed a flood of God-haunted broadcast and cable shows like Tru Calling, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, Carnivale, Six Feet Under, Miracles, and Veritas.

Perhaps the most unusual program was Mad Mad House, which premiered in March. The Science Fiction Channel’s postmodern, post-Christian reality show put ten guests (including a few Christians) in a house with a vampire, a voodoo priestess, a Wiccan, a naturist, and a modern primitive.

In a January TV Guide article entitled “TV Goes with God,” writer Mark Nollinger explored the sudden upsurge in spiritually-themed shows.

“Does God exist? What’s our place in the universe? Is there a meaning to life? And what exactly happens to us after we die, anyway?

“It used to be that the only way people could find a helpful discussion of such profound questions was to get up early, put on their best clothes—and their best behavior—and head off to a church, temple or mosque. Not now. These days, you barely need to get off the sofa during prime time.”

And other pop culture media are overflowing with spiritual messages.

At the cineplex, movies in the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Matrix series have become box office hits while inspiring profound theological reflection and debate. And the new Spiritual Cinema Circle (spiritualcinemacircle.com) is a subscriptionbased DVD service that delivers “spiritually themed” films.

At bookstores, Philip Pullman’s anti-God His Dark Materials series battles it out against British vicar G. P. Taylor’s faith-friendly Shadowmancer novel. And younger readers can pick up the latest installment in the growing, internationally popular W.i.t.c.h. series featuring “5 ordinary girls…who discover that they have extraordinary powers.” (see www.clubwitch.com)

Lynn Schofield Clark, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, says, “Religion and spirituality are ‘hot’ right now.”

Clark spent six years conducting 250 interviews with teens and their families, publishing her results in her 2003 book, From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford, $29.95). A member of Denver’s Faith Lutheran Church, Clark says changes in the contemporary media marketplace are fueling the growth in spiritual entertainment.

“Popular culture has become much more diverse than ever before, and this means that there is a much broader variety of messages available to young people, as well as a proliferation of evangelically-oriented materials like the Veggie Tales videos, Revolve and Refuel teen Bibles, and bestselling albums by Christian bands like Third Day and Mercy Me.

“Successes like this allow young evangelicals to identify with something they see on a very public stage, and thus it gives them a space in the culture in which they can see their faith,” says Clark. “The challenge for leaders is to help them to move beyond this identification and reinforcement, encouraging them to live out their faith by being a part of movements for better living conditions for other young people around the world, for example.”

The phenomenal success of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ led Entertainment Weekly magazine to ask: “Has Hollywood found religion?” And last fall,

Gibson’s Icon Productions firm launched three new TV series: Clubhouse, Savages, and Kevin Hill. None of them were explicitly religious, and none was a major hit.

Meanwhile, today’s profusion of spiritually-influenced entertainment has created a bumper crop of theologically-informed books, from Mark Pinsky’s The Gospel According to the Simpsons to Jana Riess’s What Would Buffy Do?: The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide. Such books can help prepare Christian leaders and laypeople for the difficult task of developing a biblically-informed critique of pop culture.

No escape

Spirituality is everywhere in entertainment today. But not all shows are created equal, nor do all teens view these shows in the same way. The University of Colorado’s Clark divided teen pop culture consumers into the following five distinct groups:

  1. Resisters have no interest in organized religion, but they readily identify with the antiestablishment themes in supernatural dramas like “The X-Files.”
  2. Mystics are impacted by shows like “Joan of Arcadia” but remain ambivalent toward organized religion.
  3. Experimenters are very interested in spirituality and are the most likely to go from seeing a TV show like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” or “Charmed” to toying with Wicca.
  4. Traditionalists, the category that includes most evangelical Christian teens as well as conservative Mormons and Muslims, are primarily concerned with personal morality and how the consumption of pop culture will help or hurt them.
  5. The Intrigued are committed to their faith but seek to balance their received traditions with the new information they get from the mass media.

Finding out what kind of culture consumers your teens are isn’t always easy, but talking with kids about pop culture can help.

“It’s often easier to talk to kids about pop culture than it is to discuss what they think or believe concerning religion,” says Clark.

Steve Rabey is a Colorado-based freelance writer who teaches a class called “A Christian Perspective on Popular Culture” for Fuller Theological Seminary. His latest book is The Way of the Mystics with John Michael Talbot (Jossey-Bass).

Fonte: YOUTH SPECIALTIES

 
Comentários desativados em God: A Pop Culture Superstar

Publicado por em 05/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Decoding the Postmodern Teenage World

Marv Penner

When some of you saw the title of this article you might have already started thinking, “Great, just what I need—something else to remind me how old I am.”

The last thing in the world I want to say is that to be effective in your work with kids you need to be up on every new trend. In fact, if you have limited time to invest in your ministry with students, for goodness sake, don’t waste it watching MTV and trying to learn skater language. But you’ll notice as you look around that the world has seen lots of changes.

There’s no question that this is a challenging time to work with kids. At some level, we’d be right calling them troubled times, but these are also some very exciting times for youth ministry—with teens spiritual openness, quest for true community, and apparent enjoyment of adult relationships. To take advantage of this era, it’s vitally important that we take the time to get a sense of what matters to todays teens.

“I Walked Around”

In Acts 17, Paul is on a missionary journey to Athens. He’s been separated from his friends for a few days and “while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.”

He begins dialoguing with the people of Athens and, as the gospel is prone to do, stirs up controversy. Before you know it, he finds himself at the Aeropogus—a kind of public forum for discussion—where he’s questioned about what he’s teaching. He says in verse 23, “For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.”

“I walked around,” he says.

Most of us are already doing this. We’re in relationships with kids; we enjoy spending time with them, inviting them into our homes, sharing experiences with them, bumping into them at the mall, getting out to a game or recital—the basic stuff of which relational ministry is made.

Paul said he “looked carefully at your objects of worship.” Notice that he explored and understood his audience’s culture. He’d taken the time to notice what mattered to them, what they valued. In doing so, he found a crucial connecting point, so that he could respond to what he’d seen in a culturally appropriate way, a link in Athenian culture through which he could naturally, effectively, and without offense present the Gospel. Instead of condemning them for their idols, he used them as a framework for sharing Jesus in a way the people could understand.

There’s a lesson for us in how to interact with culture. Because culture both shapes and reflects the values of our kids, it’s crucial that we understand what’s happening in their world.

What todays kids need in their lives are thoughtful adults who are willing to explore what’s happening in adolescent culture and who will then use what they learn as a window—a natural point of entry—into the souls of a generation, and to respond with the gentle love of Jesus.

Postmodern Worldview

So, let’s take a quick walk around. Here’s something that’ll come as no shock: kids today seem to see their world in a whole different way. It’s called their worldview, and it’s important for us to understand it. A worldview is simply the lens through which a person views and understands the world.

You’ve probably heard people talking about a “postmodern worldview as the new lens through which the world is being seen and understood.” You may be surprised to find that this “new view” is much more like the thinking of New Testament times than we realize. That makes biblical truth more relevant and perhaps even more understandable to this generation than it has been to any recent generation in the church. That’s great news for every youth worker.

The biggest difference you’ll find in this new (old) way of thinking is in the way it deals with truth. To the modern mind, a declaration of propositional truth is the starting point for understanding relationships, feelings, and experiences. The kids we’re working with today see it in a whole different way. They’ll tell you that it’s in their relationships, experiences, and emotions that they can encounter and discover truth.

In this approach, truth isn’t found in declarations and statements, but in a personal encounter with the one who is “the Truth.” So what?

None of us would argue with how important relationships are in youth ministry, but have you ever thought about what motivates us to establish relationships?

It used to be to “earn the right to be heard.” We’d hang with kids, go to their recitals, coach their teams, all with the idea that if we did it long enough and well enough, we’d eventually get the opportunity to dump the whole load of truth on them. Relationships had been reduced to a tool or methodology—a means to an end. It’s no wonder some kids were feeling used, betrayed, and manipulated—like someone’s project.

In this new way of viewing ministry, our role is simply “to be.” It becomes a ministry of offering our presence. Relationships become the path to the truth.

What about the way we’ve done evangelism? Many of us began with the assumption that our audience believed the Bible to be true and authoritative. Our evangelistic approach was to systematically and logically persuade people to buy into Christianity by carefully crafted arguments.

This “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” has given way to an approach that begins with your story and my story and weaves those into His story—leading us into an encounter with truth. And the resources being written for youth ministry today are beginning to reflect some of this.

As we look more closely at the world of kids today, we begin to see some of their altars—the things that really matter, the places they invest their time, energy, and money. Here’s some of what we’ll find as we look around our own “Athens.”

Remember as we work through this that these altars are not idols in and of themselves. We don’t need to fear what we find. In fact, if we’ve looked with spiritually sensitive eyes, we will find hints of kids longing for that same “unknown God” of the Athenians of Pauls day.

Technology

It’s a high tech, but not high touch, world. Often technology provides a gateway to what appears to be intimacy—they long for connectedness so deeply.

Kids don’t even know that they live in a technological world; it’s the only world they’ve ever known. This year’s high school freshmen were born with a remote control in their hands. They actually were born after the introduction of home computers, VCRs, CDs, and satellite TV. Pagers and cell phones aren’t neat new gadgets; they’re the basic means of communication. Kids now know more about technology than their parents and most of us do.

You must pay attention to technology in your ministry, but don’t overuse it. As helpful as it can be, technology can get in the way of relationships and community. Avoid the temptation to stop phoning kids or mailing them an actual note. Avoid the temptation to opt for the easy “video night” instead of doing the harder work of planning an evening of interaction and conversation. Don’t be fooled into believing that the answer for your youth group is a bigger sound system or better video projector.

Teach discernment and discipline. Don’t assume that kids are making wise choices with all that’s available to them. Because they see technology as their ally and friend and because their level of comfort with it makes them feel a bit invincible, they don’t always see the dangers. I’m not suggesting a paranoid approach, just wisdom and good counsel from people they respect.

Seeing Is Believing

This is a visual generation. They respond to things they can see; yet there are so many intense images out there screaming for their attention and they come in so many forms. This is a generation living under the law of diminishing returns. What was impressive last year isn’t impressive anymore. What thrilled me last week no longer thrills me this week. What pushed the edge of decency yesterday is routine and boring now.

There is no question that images are powerful and motivating. How can we take this resource and use images for more effective ministry?

Visually impact your youth room. Use a series of still pictures to evoke a response.

Create “harmonies” in Powerpoint or MediaShout to reinforce teaching. A “chorus” simply puts on the screen exactly what you are saying, i.e. it says it with you. A “harmony” puts on the screen a reinforcing message or image, not exactly what you’re saying but an image or parallel statement that strengthens your point.

Use video as a discussion starter, illustration, or point maker.

A Tribe Apart

That’s how Patricia Hersch described adolescents in a superb book by that title. She spent three years following eight teens around in their world. What she found was a fascinating web of relationships and encounters that allowed her to see deeply into the soul of a generation. Her insights are profound and they remind us of just how important it is to understand the relational structure of that world.

To really understand adolescent relationships you need to understand the concept of tribes. Sub-groups of adolescents have their own language, dress, music, values, attitudes and lifestyles. They have a low level of tolerance for anyone outside their tribe, and tribal membership represents a primary point of identity—especially for kids who feel like outcasts.

Tribes are a basic subset of adolescent culture as a whole. Within these tribes lie the basic social units of the adolescent world. They’re called friendship clusters. When we understand these informal friendship clusters, we can understand how kids connect with one another. These clusters are made up of 3-6 close friends. Involvement in an informal cluster is more important than joining formal groups. Think of the kid who passes on running for student council because it’d mean less time with his friends.

Ministry Implications

It’s absolutely imperative that we distinguish clusters from cliques, and that we not work against clusters. They are the fabric of adolescent culture and must be nurtured rather than sabotaged. Cliques are just unhealthy clusters. Rather than trying to break up the relationships, we need to address the relational health of the cluster.

Outreach may need to be “tribe specific.” Before kids come to Christ, they’ll be relatively intolerant of other tribes. In Cincinnati, theres a ministry that assigns volunteers on the basis of the tribe they touch, rather than to a specific age group, school, or geographic area.

The goal is still unity (see John 17). We’ve all seen the way walls break down on a mission trip, during a service project, or even in a meaningful worship experience. This is what the body of Christ is all about—unity in the midst of diversity. When that begins to happen, we know that God’s at work.

Experiences

In a world marked by subjectivity and the law of diminishing returns, kids will always keep looking for one more way to create a memorable experience. They have the resources at their disposal to help them create their own experiences that’ll give them some sense of satisfaction when all is said and done.

When creating experiences for kids, avoid the temptation to structure every experience in a way that demands a predetermined outcome. Let the Holy Spirit work in the experience. You know how we used to do camps and retreatstightly scheduled days with devotionals, a speaker, and scheduled activities. Would you be willing to take the risk of planning an event in which the outcome is not predetermined?

Also, teach your students to be inwardly sensitive so that they can experience what’s happening in the present to hear God’s voice in the silence, to feel God’s touch when in pain, to sense God’s nudging in times of decision. Redeem experiences they’re already having. Strengthen experiences by providing a tangible token of remembrance. For example, a lesson on salvation could be reinforced by handing each student a nail. A lesson on growth could be reinforced by handing each student a packet of seeds, and so on.

We’re called to use our understanding of our students world to help them see that what they’re experiencing as “unknown” is really Gods movement in and around them.

As for the rest of Paul’s story in Acts? If you go to the end of the chapter, you’ll find that when people heard Paul talk about the resurrection, some laughed; but others wanted to hear more. Paul discussion ended, but some joined him and became believers.

Maybe you should take a walk in the world for awhile.

“Decoding the Postmodern Teenage World” is adapted from the 2001 Youth Specialties National Resource Seminar.

Marv Penner chairs the Youth and Family Ministry Department and directs Youth Quake at Briercrest Bible College and Seminary in Saskatchewan, Canada. He’s a member of the Youth Specialties Resource Seminar team and the author of Creative Bible Lessons in 1 & 2 Corinthians.

Fonte: YOUTH SPECIALTIES

Steve Rabey

About once a year, the folks at Fuller Theological Seminary take temporary leave of their senses and ask me to teach a class called “A Christian Perspective on Popular Culture” at the school’s branch in Colorado Springs.

The first day of class is always exciting. I particularly enjoy getting to meet new students and asking them to talk about who they are and what they do. The diversity of backgrounds, interests, and callings is never less than amazing.

Early on, I ask everyone to describe to the class, in a sentence or two, their theology of pop culture. At that instant, a number of faces typically grow blank. I can imagine the furious mental processing that’s going on behind the opaque facades.

“Okay,” they’re thinking, “I know there’s a theology of the Holy Spirit, and even a theology of ministry; but a theology of pop culture? I don’t know.”

At times, I think I can detect a tear coming out of the eyes of some of the other students. They thought the course might provide a brief respite from serious reflection and instead devote all our class time to sitting around watching movies and listening to rock music. These folks wanted a course that would be the seminary equivalent of a P.E. class.

“NO!” I shout, waving my arms in the air (I would rap people on the knuckles with my wooden ruler, but Fuller doesn’t allow that.). “This will not be a walk in the park like all those other lightweight Fuller classes—like hermeneutics, systematic theology, and Greek!”

In time, everyone recovers from my outburst, and their thoughts start pouring out.

In the Beginning

“I’m here to develop a theology of pop culture,” said Courtney, a Young Life staffer who works in the parallel universe known as Aspen, Colorado. “I’m not real engaged in pop culture, but I’d like to use it as a tool in ministry.”

Her husband, James, agreed. “I would like to use pop culture to point the way to Christ.”

Sue, a youth minister from Garden City, Kansas, said, “Popular culture is a barometer of society as a whole, and we need to understand it if we want to get at what’s going on in the world.”

Dan, a Young Life staffer from Pueblo, Colorado, hoped the class would help further his mission of using music as a bridge to reach out to young people whose lives rarely intersect with the church. “Kids are really searching for spiritual stuff, but they see the church as not relevant to their lives. Many in the church see culture as sinful, but I’d like to see the coming together of these two.”

Todd, a youth pastor from Houston, said, “We live in pop culture every day, so we should have a biblical, theological foundation for that, as for every part of our lives.”

Rich, a veteran youth worker from Sugar Hill, Georgia, boldly proclaimed, “The culture has influenced the church more than the church has influenced the culture—and I’m not sure this is a bad thing.”

Melanie, meanwhile, had left what she described as the insulated “bubble” of the parachurch/youth ministry culture to work in a restaurant where she rubs elbows with spiritual seekers on a regular basis. “Culture is a way to discern God’s beauty and mystery and how people perceive God,” she said. “Pop culture helps me enter into where the people are. It breaks down barriers.”

In the Middle

Over the next few days, we spent more than 30 hours reading books like Francis Schaeffer’s little Art and the Bible, Neil Gabler’s provocative Life the Movie, and Richard Niebuhr’s classic Christ and Culture (which argues that there’s never really been one single Christian approach toward popular culture, but rather, Christians have historically responded to the world around them in five typical patterns).

We conducted a number of field studies into what my friend, Glenn Paauw, calls “spiritual archaeology.” We listened to popular songs, searching for any possible signs of spiritual life. We discussed whether or not films like “The Sixth Sense” were performing a religious function in movie-goers’ lives. And we scoured our Bibles for any clues to help us make sense of everything we were thinking.

Some of the passages we examined only seemed to confuse matters. “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” commands the author of 1 John 2:15. “The love of the Father is not in those who love the world.” But what do we do, then, with John 3:16, the verse that has anchored a million evangelistic sermons: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

We could’ve spent months debating the ministry applications of three separate passages on the issue of meat offered to idols (Acts 15 and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10). Equally intriguing is Paul’s appropriation of pop culture artifacts in Acts 17. His sermon to the Athenians at Mars Hill compliments them for their religiosity—even though it’s far from Christian—and he quotes both a popular poet and the inscription found on a statue to a pagan god.

In the End

At the end of the week, I made a depressing announcement. “Students, by the mere fact that you’ve taken this class, read the assigned books, and explored these issues for 30-plus hours, you’re now members of an elite group. You’ve probably given more serious attention to pop culture than 98% of the Christians living in America today.”

Then, after a brief, mandatory period during which we all wept and gnashed our teeth, I again invited the students to describe to the class, in a sentence or two, their theology of pop culture.

“I’m still very much in a learning process,” said Todd. “I’m trying to answer this question with my own youth group: How does a Christian student live in the world but not be of the world?”

James was equally indecisive. “I’m in the middle of wrestling over how much I really want to dive in and engage with the culture.”

Courtney was giving fresh thought to the implications of Christ’s incarnation. “I’m thankful that Christ came to us, and I want to have that same incarnational experience with my kids.”

Sue was wondering about how to balance the seemingly conflicting demands of incarnational ministry and holiness. “How do we discern and engage without being caught up in the world?” she asked. “It seems that the more we’re exposed to things, the more desensitized we are into accepting everything as normal and okay. But at the same time, Christians have been so disengaged from popular culture, and that disengagement has created a spiritual vacuum that had to be filled with something else.”

Dan was growing increasingly impatient with believers who divide the world into two distinct segments: the evil, secular world and the safer, Christian subculture. “My struggle is to think of the whole world as God’s world.”

Melanie said the main reason Christians retreat into a comfortable world of parochial music and books is fear. “God doesn’t call us to be afraid of anything, but to be discerning and listen and have more compassion for the lost.”

Rich concluded our discussion by clarifying an important point. “When Jesus talked with prostitutes, he didn’t have sex with them.”

On that note, our formal conversation ended. But hopefully, the questions we’d explored during the week would continue to challenge, provoke, and haunt us all.

How should Christians view the world and the cultural artifacts that seem to fill it to overflowing? How can we critically examine popular movies, music, and even TV shows for clues to people’s unspoken hungers and prayers? And how can we help young people develop the ability to be discerning culture consumers and clear-headed ambassadors of Christ?

Steve Rabey is a Colorado writer. His latest book is In Search of Authentic Faith: How Emerging Generations Are Transforming the Church (WaterBrook Press).

Fonte: YOUTH SPECIALTIES

 
Comentários desativados em Decoding the Postmodern Teenage World

Publicado por em 05/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Developing a Theology of Pop Culture

Steve Rabey

About once a year, the folks at Fuller Theological Seminary take temporary leave of their senses and ask me to teach a class called “A Christian Perspective on Popular Culture” at the school’s branch in Colorado Springs.

The first day of class is always exciting. I particularly enjoy getting to meet new students and asking them to talk about who they are and what they do. The diversity of backgrounds, interests, and callings is never less than amazing.

Early on, I ask everyone to describe to the class, in a sentence or two, their theology of pop culture. At that instant, a number of faces typically grow blank. I can imagine the furious mental processing that’s going on behind the opaque facades.

“Okay,” they’re thinking, “I know there’s a theology of the Holy Spirit, and even a theology of ministry; but a theology of pop culture? I don’t know.”

At times, I think I can detect a tear coming out of the eyes of some of the other students. They thought the course might provide a brief respite from serious reflection and instead devote all our class time to sitting around watching movies and listening to rock music. These folks wanted a course that would be the seminary equivalent of a P.E. class.

“NO!” I shout, waving my arms in the air (I would rap people on the knuckles with my wooden ruler, but Fuller doesn’t allow that.). “This will not be a walk in the park like all those other lightweight Fuller classes—like hermeneutics, systematic theology, and Greek!”

In time, everyone recovers from my outburst, and their thoughts start pouring out.

In the Beginning

“I’m here to develop a theology of pop culture,” said Courtney, a Young Life staffer who works in the parallel universe known as Aspen, Colorado. “I’m not real engaged in pop culture, but I’d like to use it as a tool in ministry.”

Her husband, James, agreed. “I would like to use pop culture to point the way to Christ.”

Sue, a youth minister from Garden City, Kansas, said, “Popular culture is a barometer of society as a whole, and we need to understand it if we want to get at what’s going on in the world.”

Dan, a Young Life staffer from Pueblo, Colorado, hoped the class would help further his mission of using music as a bridge to reach out to young people whose lives rarely intersect with the church. “Kids are really searching for spiritual stuff, but they see the church as not relevant to their lives. Many in the church see culture as sinful, but I’d like to see the coming together of these two.”

Todd, a youth pastor from Houston, said, “We live in pop culture every day, so we should have a biblical, theological foundation for that, as for every part of our lives.”

Rich, a veteran youth worker from Sugar Hill, Georgia, boldly proclaimed, “The culture has influenced the church more than the church has influenced the culture—and I’m not sure this is a bad thing.”

Melanie, meanwhile, had left what she described as the insulated “bubble” of the parachurch/youth ministry culture to work in a restaurant where she rubs elbows with spiritual seekers on a regular basis. “Culture is a way to discern God’s beauty and mystery and how people perceive God,” she said. “Pop culture helps me enter into where the people are. It breaks down barriers.”

In the Middle

Over the next few days, we spent more than 30 hours reading books like Francis Schaeffer’s little Art and the Bible, Neil Gabler’s provocative Life the Movie, and Richard Niebuhr’s classic Christ and Culture (which argues that there’s never really been one single Christian approach toward popular culture, but rather, Christians have historically responded to the world around them in five typical patterns).

We conducted a number of field studies into what my friend, Glenn Paauw, calls “spiritual archaeology.” We listened to popular songs, searching for any possible signs of spiritual life. We discussed whether or not films like “The Sixth Sense” were performing a religious function in movie-goers’ lives. And we scoured our Bibles for any clues to help us make sense of everything we were thinking.

Some of the passages we examined only seemed to confuse matters. “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” commands the author of 1 John 2:15. “The love of the Father is not in those who love the world.” But what do we do, then, with John 3:16, the verse that has anchored a million evangelistic sermons: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

We could’ve spent months debating the ministry applications of three separate passages on the issue of meat offered to idols (Acts 15 and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10). Equally intriguing is Paul’s appropriation of pop culture artifacts in Acts 17. His sermon to the Athenians at Mars Hill compliments them for their religiosity—even though it’s far from Christian—and he quotes both a popular poet and the inscription found on a statue to a pagan god.

In the End

At the end of the week, I made a depressing announcement. “Students, by the mere fact that you’ve taken this class, read the assigned books, and explored these issues for 30-plus hours, you’re now members of an elite group. You’ve probably given more serious attention to pop culture than 98% of the Christians living in America today.”

Then, after a brief, mandatory period during which we all wept and gnashed our teeth, I again invited the students to describe to the class, in a sentence or two, their theology of pop culture.

“I’m still very much in a learning process,” said Todd. “I’m trying to answer this question with my own youth group: How does a Christian student live in the world but not be of the world?”

James was equally indecisive. “I’m in the middle of wrestling over how much I really want to dive in and engage with the culture.”

Courtney was giving fresh thought to the implications of Christ’s incarnation. “I’m thankful that Christ came to us, and I want to have that same incarnational experience with my kids.”

Sue was wondering about how to balance the seemingly conflicting demands of incarnational ministry and holiness. “How do we discern and engage without being caught up in the world?” she asked. “It seems that the more we’re exposed to things, the more desensitized we are into accepting everything as normal and okay. But at the same time, Christians have been so disengaged from popular culture, and that disengagement has created a spiritual vacuum that had to be filled with something else.”

Dan was growing increasingly impatient with believers who divide the world into two distinct segments: the evil, secular world and the safer, Christian subculture. “My struggle is to think of the whole world as God’s world.”

Melanie said the main reason Christians retreat into a comfortable world of parochial music and books is fear. “God doesn’t call us to be afraid of anything, but to be discerning and listen and have more compassion for the lost.”

Rich concluded our discussion by clarifying an important point. “When Jesus talked with prostitutes, he didn’t have sex with them.”

On that note, our formal conversation ended. But hopefully, the questions we’d explored during the week would continue to challenge, provoke, and haunt us all.

How should Christians view the world and the cultural artifacts that seem to fill it to overflowing? How can we critically examine popular movies, music, and even TV shows for clues to people’s unspoken hungers and prayers? And how can we help young people develop the ability to be discerning culture consumers and clear-headed ambassadors of Christ?

Steve Rabey is a Colorado writer. His latest book is In Search of Authentic Faith: How Emerging Generations Are Transforming the Church (WaterBrook Press).

Fonte: YOUTH SPECIALTIES

 
1 comentário

Publicado por em 05/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

From Blind Consumption to Informed Engagement

Steve Rabey

Catwoman was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2004. Tens of millions of dollars were spent hiring Halle Berry, designing her sexy costumes and the film’s elaborate sets, and promoting the film to entertainment-hungry moviegoers like you and me.

But when the film finally came out in July, reviewers like Roger Ebert tore it to shreds. “Hairball!” proclaimed Ebert, the Chicago critic whose influential reviews are published in hundreds of American newspapers.

“The filmmakers have given great thought to photographing Berry, who looks fabulous, and little thought to providing her with a strong character, story, supporting characters or action sequences,” he wrote.

Influence of Pop Culture

Pop culture is the atmosphere most of us live in. We are awash in films, TV shows, recordings, DVDs, Web sites, video games, rock concerts, books, and magazines.

For many of the kids we work with, pop culture has more influence than virtually any other aspect of life. In addition, moviemakers and other culture producers aim many of their products at kids, who have the leisure time and disposable income to consume their wares.

For decades, some believers have advocated that Christians need to shun pop culture, turning deaf ears and blind eyes to its seductive, corrosive messages. But even many of those who support such an approach consider it impossible in our media-saturated age.

A better approach is transforming blind consumption into informed engagement. And one of the best ways to do that is to become a culture critic.

Cultural Critique

You don’t have to be a Roger Ebert to critique movies, TV shows, and CDs. Everyone can do it, and if you learn to do so, you’ll find yourself evolving into a more discriminating consumer who spends more time planning and enjoying your entertainment consumption and less time swallowing big, gooey hairballs like Catwoman.

Even more: if you can teach your kids to be culture critics, you’ll be giving them tools that will serve them throughout their lives. One great way to do this is by asking your kids to write critical reviews of some of the pop culture products they consume.

By the way, being a critic doesn’t mean you condemn everything you see or hear. The best critics praise the good and blast the bad, and they make clear declarations about the criteria they use when doing so, like Ebert did in his comments about characters, story, and action.

The main thing that separates culture critics from blind consumers is that they take an informed and thoughtful approach to the entertainment they consume. In fact, critics think about what they see and hear, before, during, and after they consume it:

  • Before, they read reviews and form opinions about artists’ bodies of work.
  • During, they seek to be engaged with the work, enjoying it at the same time that they evaluate and assess it.
  • Afterwards, they compare their reactions with those of others, asking questions like, “Was Catwoman a film or just a fashion show?”

The only thing blind consumers can tell you about a film is whether or not they liked it or found it entertaining. Critics have personal preferences, too, but they try to incorporate their brains and their core values into their consumption, asking whether or not a particular scene is believable, whether or not it’s moving, or whether or not it “works.”

Faith-Based Criteria

For some Christians, evaluating a pop culture commodity is as simple as applying a simplistic set of behavior-based criteria. If a character swears, smokes, drinks, or has sex, the film is bad. But the late Francis Schaeffer, one of the 20th century’s most influential culture critics, argued that even a morally “bad” film could be “good” art.

In Schaeffer’s profound little booklet, Art & the Bible (1973, IVP), the founder of L’Abri Fellowship laid out four standards for judging a work. They were technical excellence; content; validity (Is the director trying to make a work of art or merely a quick buck?); and something he calls “integration of content and vehicle” (Does it deal with its content in an appropriate way, or does it cheat both the viewer and its ideals?).

Schaeffer believed great art could contain bad morals and theology. He was also troubled by “Christian” films that wrap theological truths in bad art. Such films may be saying all the right things, but ultimately they fail to grab viewers’ imaginations or touch their hearts.

Other Christian thinkers have developed other criteria for evaluating a work of art. Regardless of which criteria you use, here are the three things every critical review should do.

Inform

Tell me what the film is, who is in it and behind it, what projects they’ve been involved in before, and what it’s about (without giving away the ending or the punch line). How long is it? What genre is it: Thriller? Comedy? Historical epic? Is it in color or black and white? Is it rated G or R, and for what reasons?

Some of this information may seem simplistic, but unless you convince other people that you know the basic facts about a film, they’ll never trust your evaluation of its artistic merits.

Evaluate

Don’t tell me if you like it or don’t like it. I don’t care about that. I want you to tell me what works and what doesn’t. I want to know whether or not it’s well done. And ultimately, I want to know whether or not I’ll like it, and whether or not it’s worth the $7.50 or more it’ll cost me to see it.

I also want to know how the work compares to other films in its genre or other projects by the same creative team. Is it darker? Funnier? More or less powerful? In the case of sequels, tell me whether Matrix IX: Son of Neo is as interesting as the first Matrix movie or whether it’s a pale shadow of the original.

Get out of your own head and try to explain who’ll like it and who won’t. Life is short, and there are so many movies to see. Tell me whether The Incredibles is worth the effort or whether I should stay home and watch Citizen Kane again.

And don’t forget what Schaeffer says: you need to evaluate the work on both technical and spiritual grounds. Don’t let moral concerns be your only frame of reference.

Entertain

Movies are supposed to be entertaining, and so are reviews. It’s no fun to read a boring review about an exciting movie. Make your review enjoyable to read. And make sure you include quotes from the film. (Yes, that means you’ll actually have to take notes while watching it; this gets easier over time.)

With a little practice, you’ll learn to be a more critical and more engaged consumer of pop culture. Before long, you’ll begin teaching your kids how to be more critical in their consumption. And when you do that, you’ll be bringing sight to the blind.

Steve Rabey is a Colorado writer and culture critic. His most recent book is Milestones: 50 Events that Shaped American Evangelicals in the 20th Century (Broadman & Holman).

Fonte: YOUTH SPECIALTIES

 
Comentários desativados em From Blind Consumption to Informed Engagement

Publicado por em 04/09/2009 em POIMENIA

 

Tags: , , , , , ,