"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, March 24, 2006

Two Cities Blog, Brokeback, and Christian Reactions

Matt Tapie is the very definition of the man contending earnestly for the faith. He writes about the city of God and the city of man on a new blog that has already been noticed by Hugh Hewitt and The Evangelical Outpost.

I bring him up today because he has a particularly good post about how Christians should react to Brokeback Mountain. Is it boycott time?!!! Not according to Matt. He has a different view of things:

First of all, we must not confront culture using its rules of engagement. In our culture, much of politics has become a debased game of power plays. There is no longer agreement about the possibility of a "good" society, so there exists only grabs for power. The question has ceased to be about how to make society "good" and has now become "Who has the power to define society?" Because of this, we are tempted to appeal to polls and what the "American people" think to advance our positions. Christian cultural engagement is frequently associated with activism, boycotts, protests, and mass emails. Our engagement must rise above these "majority rules" methods. If our primary means of engaging culture consists of boycotting Target because they use the term "holiday tree," or boycotting a movie because it does not line up with the Christian worldview, I believe we are in grave danger. We are in danger of being seduced by power politics and distracted from the mission of God in the world. Our obligation to live as the salt and light of the earth has been reduced to a lobbying effort, and Christ is not a lobbyist--he is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

I think I'm going to end up disagreeing with Matt on this one, at least as far as my own choice goes. Last time I saw a movie for reasons of cultural engagement was The Last Temptation of Christ. I'll never get that two hours of my life back. I'm going to bow out for aesthetic reasons rather than any sort of political protest. I like my cowboys minimally interested in women, but only because they're too busy driving a herd under desperate conditions or because some cold-blooded murderers are on the loose. Pencil me in for another viewing of Tombstone.

Matt's got the right idea, though.

2 comments:

mjwatson said...

I think he's got it exactly backwards. If Christians wanted to practice majority politics they'd just streamroll stuff legsilatively, Prohibition-style. Protests, boycotts, etc. are not majority politics, they are minority politics. Moreover, they can be the politics of persuasion, a la the Civil Rights movement.

And while we need not buy into the world's ways, imo, the most important factors in choosing means are 1) are they morally acceptable and 2) are they effective. I certainly think boycotts and the like are morally acceptable, and they can be effective. If secular folks makes use of such means effectively, is that a reason for Christians not to?

That's not to say I think we should boycott Brokeback etc. But I don't think Christians need eschew "normal" politics, unless we buy into an Amish position on the line between faith and politics (and that's not a slam, just a distinction).

James Elliott said...

"Last time I saw a movie for reasons of cultural engagement was The Last Temptation of Christ. I'll never get that two hours of my life back."

Funny, that's how I felt about the last film I saw out of a sense of "cultural engagement:" The Passion of the Christ. Mel Gibson, I want my $9.75 back and two hours off your life.

"I like my cowboys minimally interested in women, but only because they're too busy driving a herd under desperate conditions or because some cold-blooded murderers are on the loose. Pencil me in for another viewing of Tombstone."

I'll second that. John Wayne marathon!! (I miss those days on TBS...) I totally need a copy of Stagecoach for my birthday.