Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Stop Complaining About The Culture

... and start making a better alternative!

That's the theme of a terrific new book I'm listening to via Audible: Culture Making by Andy Crouch.

The analogy he uses is making chili for his kids. He makes it with sauteed onions, bell peppers and chunks of tomatoes. They're young children and they don't like the mixed colors or chunky fruit*. They have to eat it anyway because he and his wife like it and they don't cater to the whims of the kids. The surly, little urchins are left with three choices: protest, boycott or learn to cook something better to replace it.

So it goes with not just evangelicals (his directly intended audience), but any of us fed up with the porn / violence / excessive use of wombats / whatever that we loathe in modern culture. We can march and protest against hateful films and music, we can boycott them at the box office or we can make something better and drive the culture in a direction we want. Andy shows how the first two are useless, making the third the only viable option.

I'm not quite halfway through it, but I'm loving it. Right now, he's suggesting we need to be knowledgeable consumers of culture because, like playing sports or working on engineering problems, you can't create culture without a solid background in it.

As I've listened, I've become convinced that the reason orthodox Christianity isn't better represented in the popular culture is that we've opted out of it in a snit. We've taken the boycott route. By divorcing ourselves from culture we've made ourselves culturally ignorant and utterly passive. We don't understand and we don't try to create because we've made popular culture into an enemy.

Great stuff. More on the topic later.

Stop just critiquing and start doing. All that pointless, deep-thinking, snobby analysis of the culture just makes you sleepy.
* - Tomatoes are fruits, after all. It looks strange in print, doesn't it?


tim eisele said...

Yes. If you want people to stop behaving in some particular way, you need to have some alternative for them. Just saying "stop doing that!" doesn't usually help.

And as far as fruit versus vegetables, here's some things you can use in "botanical fruit salad" that will mess with people's expectations (these are technically all fruits):


K T Cat said...

Beans are fruits?

Doo Doo Econ said...

I agree with the premise of the book. Moreover, we had Andrew Breitbart winning some culture battles. Now he is gone. As a movement we need to fight with all three weapons, but as individuals we do not have enough Andrew Breitbarts at the moment.

tim eisele said...

Yep, beans are fruits (they are ripened ovaries of the plant).

The fun bit is that, to botanists, strawberries (and maybe apples) mostly *aren't* true fruits. They're derived from plant tissues behind the ovaries, not the ovaries themselves.