Admittedly, this post is a little rushed BUT..I am very excited about how this series is going to support some vital ideas....
1. The need for the Gospel to focus on "creation, fall redemption" and the creation of Morally BeautifulCommunity as oppsoed to a gospel that simply saves the soul of the individual.
2. Incarnation as both the Christian's identification with the suffering of the world and incarnation in the sense of affirming the image of God in man.
So onward and upward...
How long it was that I lived with my mom, I don't know but I imagine it was about 6 months. After a bit, I moved in with my sister. The deal was my parents had all moved out of town and it was thoguht to be best for me to continue high scholl at the same school. I think this was a good idea. I had good friends and the school was very good. My sister was very hip and became a good friend, and praise the Lord her husband had a great record collection and a fantastic sound system.
As a young child growing up listening to the stroy telling music of the 60's and early seventies, having been moved by the global story of poverty and now my parents divorce, all came together in the perfect storm. I was continually aware that the human condition had a big problem.
I simply was not a normal kid. I could not for the life of me understand how people could seek to make money, get a spouse, buy a fancy house etc while people were starving to death. People who do not understand youth culture understand this..Hard core youth culture is a child's reaction to the reality of evil in the world. Some become nihilists. Some focus on their own evil and pain and psychological damage. Some focus on political solutions. Some don't really give a rip and just want sex and pleasure. As an adolescent, I always thought such a self-centered approach to the problem of evil, and what I saw at 16 as structural evil, was the most mainstream and ignorant response. So hard core youth culture, rebels against the American dream in light of the early and maturing responses to the reality of evil.
The biggest influences on my youth were books and music. From 16-17, I remember reading the following books:
The Jungle by Upton Sinclaire
It Can't Happen Here by Sinclaire Lewis
Dubliners, Portrait of an Artist, and Ulysses - James Joyce
Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden - Steinbeck
Invisible Man - Ralph Elison
Experiments with Truth - Ghandhi
Autobiogrpahy of Malcolm X-Haley
Music was completely dominated by Bob Marley and the Clash...
So here is the point...All of these works pointed to one thing: the need for a revolution.
We have discussed two major themes in the last month in these posts.
1. Trying to understand other people's perspectives including people who do not know Christ at all.
2. The church as a community (in which the heart's cry for a revolution is met). The kingdom of God.
If someone said to me when I was young, all that music is evil or so and so writer is a socialist, I simply would have writen them off as self-centered and uncaring. The only people who affirmed what I was seeing and feeling were revolutionaries. The church was too busy helping people help themselves while people were suffering. How could such a self-centered approach to life be true religion?
Was I wrong? Where should the gospel start? What should the church become in light of HOW WE DEFINE THE PROBLEM? The church, it appeared to me, as a WIDE AWAKE, thoughtful youth was unwilling to even acknowledge the problem. So to me, the church was not relevant. So I turned elsewhere...