Saturday, August 05, 2006

To Be a Rock, but Not to Roll

"And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:7-8 (NIV)

Even John the apostle was mildly influenced in his choice of imagery, though not his theology, by the gnostics and their emphasis, or fascination with light. We're glad he was mildly influenced for the style of the Gospel according to John is light-years away from the synoptic gospels. We intend, needless to say, no disrespect for the beauty and simplicity of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John did not write or live in a cultural and intellectual vacuum. His marvelous writings, including the often-shocking Revelation with its visions of lakes of sulfuric fire and cities of transparent light, were not written in a cultural or intellectual vacuum, though the Apocalyptic book was, of course, written in the apparent cultural isolation of Patmos' confinement.

Modern Christianity is necessarily colored by its time and its intellectual or cultural movements, as well. We have memories of Christians and Christianity through the kaleidoscopic lens of the Summer of Love. Again, no reference is intended by "kaleidoscopic" to most Christians necessarily taking psychedelic agents which colored their views of their religion. I, myself, was a church-going teeny bopper who was both afraid, but not ignorant of what others, both within and outside the church were doing with mind-expanding drugs. Nevertheless, we're reminded by now-forgotten accounts of pre-conversion encounters with God through Lysergic Diethylamide Acid (LSD), as well as, Cannabis (Marijuana.) Some of these accounts were of recently-converted first year theology students who had been tripping months prior to their conversion, or of late-70s or early 80s inner-city gang members whose first encounter with what later became correctly identified as God, was initially perceived through chance Cannabis-altered consciousness.

Might today's young adults, 30-somethings, and all other post-Woodstock generation individuals, whether generation-x, y, z and beyond, especially the Myspace.com generation, not also be influenced in their perception of Christianity through the cultural influences of the Worldwide Web, MTV, and the musical-cultural-cinematic excesses of their youth and early adulthood? Do they read the Bible or the related writings of their Christian founders, Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White, differently than do their pre-Gen X fellow Christians?

What about the aging Beat-era Christians? I met two or three Christian educators who had a mild awe of Kerouac, Ferlinghetti and the Cool Jazz Scene, though not of Ginsburg's Howl, when I was a student at an Adventist college in the 70s. Did their 50s-beat sensibility color their perception of art, culture and religion, in ways that were necessarily different than the Flower generation? No doubt, Beat-influenced Christians had more in common with the Woodstock generation Christians, than the latter group has with the odd apathy or nihilism of the Gen-X influenced Christians and beyond.

What about the "What the Bleep Do We Know?" flavored Christians of today and their descendants? Will their perception of Christianity be as alien to their parents as the Woodstock-era Christians were to their parent's Christianity?

Nevertheless, are there no takers for pure, undiluted, old-time religion, Christianity, or spirituality? Or is that a distant memory or theory or future development as the "End of Time" takes place, if it has not already taken shape as we write?

2 comments:

Johnny said...

Is that a real cover of steps to christ?
I've never seen it before!

What country was that edition pubished in?

Varonelo said...

Johnny, it sure is. Check out this link: http://www.reviewandherald.com/newproducts/product.pl?type=sku&sku=082801289X

That site offers, two african american Christs, the new prayer shawl Christ, as well as the traditional caucasian Christ from paperback editions of my youth. It's available to anyone who prefers that vision of Christ in the good old USA or anywhere in the world, for that matter. It got me thinking about them also commisioning a Latino Christ portrait, as well, as Asian, Native American, etc. The ultimate in political correctness, though I'm sure it would cause controversy, would be a female-gender Christ. I say that with all respect and sensitivity. I always wonder how women feel with so many male divine figures in Christianity. I would feel a longing for at least in an artist's conception of seeing a female-gender Christ. Thanks for asking. God bless.