Thursday, 25 June 2015

Generation narcissism and the final judgment

Dartford council commissioned a plaque, to commemorate the Rolling Stones, including the words "one of the most successful rock bands of all time".

Sounds pretty weighty, does it not? That's not just one of the most successful rock bands of the last fifty years, you understand. It's one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

The average life expectancy in the UK out-strips the total time in which rock music has been around, by about a decade. i.e. Rock music has not yet existed as long as the average citizen of the UK can expect to. But don't let that kind of thing spoil your enjoyment. For, my friends, we are the people - and the significant bits of history began with us! Our achievements are the best of all time, and our 3-minute ditties are the real musical stuff that measures all of history. Our culture produced... Keith Richards! And, of course (drumroll) Sir Michael "Mick" Jagger, who was knighted in 2003 for "services (yes, services) to popular music." Please all bow!

One might suggest that we'd better put up a plaque to commemorate this now, as if we don't then afterwards it might not be quite so apparent why someone would want to.

Note that in the BBC "news" story, this ridiculous piece of cultural narcissism - "of all time" - wasn't worthy of notice or comment. That was something else (the description of exactly how Richards and Jagger met, its accuracy - that's the controversy...).

We can laugh. (And weep). But... are you a cultural and historical narcissist? Do you believe the big Western lie, that we are the people, and that history began with us? That anyone and anything before 1962 is ancient history, a stone age of universal stupidity and wrong-ness? That the centre of the universe is your plans to achieve your goals, to fulfil your potential and discover your true self - you're a movie star, and the sound track is about you? That success is when the audience screams out your name, amazed by your level of coolness/fame/amazing display of wit in the latest reality TV show/whatever? That's how we're all being encouraged to think.

But what is your life, asks the Scriptures? It is a mist that appears - and then it is gone. It is the grass of the field: here today, and tomorrow passed away. Only what is done for Christ matters. Human beings love to hand out gongs, because we innately feel that there ought to be some sort of memory, some sort of record and recognition. We all have some sense of the final judgment, and that it's right for there to be one.

But at the final judgment, man's ridiculous self-congratulation will be nowhere to be found. We will all stand before Christ's judgment seat, and the real verdict will be delivered. Are you living your life in the light of that?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Exile stage two

The author doesn't touch on this, but here's something I'd add. In "exile stage one", the assumption of neutrality (which is discussed in the article) meant that children of Christians were raised bathed in the world's culture, with the assumption that some Christian teaching could be added on top to remedy the "bad stuff". This was disastrous, in terms of raising a generation of informed Christians who were equipped to build an alternative culture to the world's. What needs to be done differently this time, to avoid an even worse outcome, now that "stage two" has arrived? And, are the churches doing it?