Archive for February, 2008

Week 8- Wednesday

February 27, 2008

Today I chose the “impossibility” of forgiveness. The church has set up a binary of “Us, the forgiven,” vs. “Them, the unforgiven.” We can break down the power of this binary by revealing how forgiveness is only forgiveness when the sin committed in totally unforgivable. This hopefully would deconstruct the power behind the separation between those who are in and those who are out.


Week 8- Monday

February 26, 2008

Coming from Memphis, TN, I have found that there is a definite myth in the south which proposes that Christian= Republican. This is an incredibly difficult connection to break. Some of my non- Christian friends have much resistance to the church because of this myth, while Christians have resistance to anything non- Republican because of this myth. It is incredibly powerful, hurtful, marginalizing, and often gets in the way of the gospel message.

I sometimes find it difficult and hopeless to break down and deconstruct the myth in the south that one must adhere to the Republican agenda in order to avoid being called a “heretic.” How do we work against these myths?

Week 7- Response to Harmony’s Blog

February 24, 2008

Harmony asked a really good question about putting a price on God. People are more concerned today about the design of the products we buy than we are about the actual functioning of the products themselves. Harmony laments that it is sad that this world has come to value appearance over actual product. I would agree wholeheartedly (although I often find myself doing the very same thing), and I would add that the church is not exempt from this charge. We often do hype up the presentation of the God message such that we don’t really know what lies beneath the toots and whistles. In Church Next, Eddie Gibbs notes that post-moderns today truly want authenticity in coming to a church, not an experience that is well designed. We need to pay attention to that.

Week 7- Cobb, Chapter 7

February 24, 2008

Studying pop culture (movies, novels, etc…) can help us ascertain what is society’s view of sin and our fallenness as humanity. One line of thought follows the Covenant and Jeremiads script. This involves the idea that we committed to a covenant which we could not follow, that we fell into disobedience, and that now there are voices that call us back to a moral high ground. These Jeremiads bring a sense of hope, a faith in humanity to return to its original covenant. Another script that tries to discuss our fallenness is the Gothic script. In these movies and novels, evil has arisen because of society’s abandonment of the villain who then wreaks havoc on the world. There is no real hope or sense that the good can be recovered. There is no benevolent power as in the Covenant and Jeremiad script.

Week 7- Barker, Chapter 14

February 24, 2008

Cultural studies believes in the importance of social change and focuses itself on power and politics. It was largely influenced by Antonio Gramsci, who developed the idea of hegemony (the ruling class exercizes social authority over subordinate classes through the winning of consent). In cultural politics, there is an emphasis on the power of discourse and language to describe social identities. Thus there is this idea of the politics of difference really being re-formulated as the politics of representation- ethnic identities are therefore understood as constructed through dialogue and language. There is also a public sphere wherein we are able to develop ourselves through this dialogue. Finally, after all of this, many have questioned cultural studies because it seems to take no action and cannot really engage in social and cultural policy.

Week 7- Bevans Chapter 7

February 24, 2008

The synthetic model is a middle of the road model, emphacizing both experience of the present (context, culture) and the experience of the past (Scripture and tradition). It attempts to hold together the truth of the gospel message along with the importance of context. It is a conversational model that emphacizes the importance of listening to voices of other cultures and traditions, understanding that one’s uniqueness as well as one’s commonalities with other cultures are important. This dialogue and openness is very helpful to create a sense of the universality of Christian faith, but it also creates a risk of selling out to the other culture or tradition.

Week 7- Barker, Chapter 13

February 24, 2008

The existence of youth culture has arisen because of the discontinuity between the family and society due to capitalism. Many have said that youth culture involves subterranean values, resisting dominant culture. Youth resist through rituals; they resist both the dominant culture their parents are resisting, yet they also express their own differentiation. Many have critiqued this understanding of subcultural theory however, saying such things as “difference is not resistance.” In this differentiation among youth, there are variations according to gender and race. There is also a syncretism between local and global youth cultures.

Week 7- Wednesday

February 20, 2008

Today we talked about the idea that one does not have to have everything “figured out” (be that one’s holiness, the church’s ability to function as the church, etc…) in order to be participating in doing the gospel. With this mentality, ministry will change, and especially youth ministry. If we will see youth as part of the Body of Christ who are called to serve NOW, without needing to become “holified” first, ministry will change and the church will change.

Week 7- Monday

February 19, 2008

There is a structure that underlies Western movies, which can be extended then to superhero and any real epic movie, of the fight between good and evil with good winning. Each Western movie lays its particular plot line and characters over that “Western Movie Structure” to create a sign which is the Western Movie. Can the same be said about religions in America? Is there a structure underlying the narrative of each religion in American culture, such that each individual religion is giving specifics to an underlying movement occuring within the culture: higher being, moral code, meaning, purpose. Can we see religion in America like this?

Week 6- Barker, Chapter 12

February 18, 2008

Barker differentiates between space and place. Places are the focus of human experience, memory, social interactions, etc… The political economy is distributed according to certain spaces and cities: the global city is the location of the accumulation, distribution, and circulation of capital. Public space is also often privatized in elitism. The postmodern city is characterized by globalization, decentralization, fragmentation, and hyperreal. Urban unrest within this postmodern city is on the rise due to abandonment of the ‘underclass.’