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4 Responses to “Why Institutions Matter – Pt. 4”

  1. Brody Bond says:

    What say ye regarding the American Christians being perceived as in bed with the Republican Party. The mix of religious and political power so often breeds contempt and suspicion. Is this where the church should be operating?

    (Os Guinness – “The Case for Civility”)

    Certainly, the Church should be making culture. YES! How does that happen apart for political co-opting?

  2. Kyle Vitasek says:

    Kanye West makes a lot of culture. Save Kanye, save the world?

  3. John Seel says:

    Politics is primarily about laws and legislation. The power of coercion. Culture is about framing the habits of the heart. It is a completely different game.

    For nearly twenty-five years, evangelicals have been politically active. Large sums of money have been raised. Political PACs and think tanks have been formed. Elections have been won — even as far as the White House. Nonetheless, American cultural life has continued to decline over the same period. What was considered scandalous when aging Boomers were in college is now regular programming on family TV. We have not been effective in influencing culture.

    It is wise to know the trump suit, when playing a game of cards. If you think you are playing Hearts, when you are actually playing Spades, you’ll soon find that you are holding a losing hand. The game determines what is trump. Cultural change requires changing minds and hearts. It cannot be forced. It involves shaping the stories and images that powerfully influence the way we perceive reality.

  4. Mike Metzger says:

    Aside from John making a powerful point about churches politicizing the culture-making process, the church has also institutionalized an underdog approach to culture. That was my main point. We actually take it for granted that we’ve always been on the “outside” when it comes to shaping culture – that the church has always been primarily about helping the disenfranchised and dispossessed. We are called to help the poor. But the disenfranchised aura of today’s church accounts for much of the emphasis on the poor – they are the only ones looking to us for help. Such a solo emphasis allows many churches to ignore their obligations to make culture with culture-makers as well as the poor.

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