A Good Start

There are some words, like nice or awesome, which have been so overused as to vacuum them of meaning. Whenever the speaker uses one of these words, the word is almost nothing more than an empty placeholder, where the speaker or listener can fill in almost anything he likes.

Sadly, one of those words is the important word culture. Nearly everyone uses the word today, to mean anything from a defense of an ethnic habit to the bourgeois feel of a classical concert, from a reference to popular customs to a serious consideration of worldviews. Everyone slips their own meaning into the word, the true meaning of which has important consequences for every one of us.

There are several books which could help us scrub off the barnacles of irrelevant meaning, and polish the word back to its original, true and useful meaning. The best and simplest start would by a seven-page article by J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Culture. Machen was a 20th-century Presbyterian scholar, and one of the reasons that Modernism did not totally decimate the church. His thoughtful analysis of the relationship between Christianity and culture went largely unheeded: just look at the mess around you. However, his analysis remains, and is worth reading, if you are interested in the scope of the problem, and concerned to think rightly about culture.

You can read it online here, or download it here.

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One Response to “A Good Start”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    Good food for thought! Thanks,David!

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