Thursday, June 5, 2008

Relevant yet Counter-Cultural?

a Biblical thought...
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. (2 Cor 1:3-4)

a Book thought...
Heaven's rule, God's rule, is to be put into practice in the world, resulting in salvation in both the present and the future, a salvation which is both for humans and, through saved humans, for the wider world. This is the solid basis for the mission of the church. (p217 Wright)

a Dave thought...
Since its inception, youth culture has looked to media culture, says Lynn Schofield Clark. "It enables young people to shock their parents and be distinctive - hence rock music and horror movies. Young people see it as making a faith tradition relevant, and that's how they experience it. They don't say, 'it's the commercialisation of my culture', they say 'finally I've found a group that speaks my language'." Religious lifestyle branding looks hip and very distinct from parents.
In Melbourne, Clark gave an example. The fashion Bible for adolescent Christian girls. Market research showed they didn't read the Bible because they found it intimidating, so the publisher Thomas Nelson released Revolve, a glossy magazine format that combined the New Testament with tips on plucking eyebrows and dating. Here's an example: "Time with God: As you put on your sunscreen talk to God and it may become as familiar as shrinking your pores." It outsold the conventional Bible 12 to one.

Lately I have been in conversations on how we communicate the bible and kingdom values to young people. Sure we want all we do to be relevant so youth can grasp the gospel, but at the same time our message must be counter-cultural as we are here to tell an alternate story. The mag (bible) above has received a lot of criticism from 'The Church' but teenage girls love it. Where the balance lies often sparks debate, but if young people don't find our communication relevant the counter-cultural message may never reach them.

Just a thought.

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