Hope for Culture

“So hope in a future revolution, or revival, to solve the problems of our contemporary culture is usually misplaced. And such a hope makes us especially vulnerable to fashion, mistaking shifts in the wind for changes in the climate. Fads sweep across the cultural landscape and believers invest outsized portions of energy and commitment in furthering the fad, mistaking it for real change. The mass media, which are largely driven by fashion, can amplify the effect of a fad – for a few weeks, everyone is humming the number one song, the band is on Saturday Night Live and talking with Leno, the video is in heavy rotation. If the song or the band has Christian affinities, websites will spring up overnight celebrating a new victory for the gospel in the culture. The short-term effects may be startling. But the long-term effects are negligible.

When we celebrate the arrival of the new Christian band, we are treating them as a technological device – the cultural equivalent of a laser that will in a few short years reshape the culture in significant ways. Strangely, we rarely fail to be surprised when the device fails to deliver at the scale that we had hoped.”

          (Andy Crouch in Culture Making, p. 59)

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