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The Culturally Savvy Christian by Dick Staub

Wednesday, 8 August 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Non-Fiction: Christianity. Hardback from Jossey-Bass. Published in 2007. 256 pages. Purchased at Borders in Lewisville, TX.

Dick Staub says that a culturally savvy Christian is:

“…. serious about the centrality of faith, savvy about both faith and culture, skilled in relating the two.”

And, wow, what a great book with much of import to impart. I’ll have to admit to feeling a bit of despair at my ability to actually become a culturally savvy Christian. It’s certainly not something that you just decide to be and viola! you’re there. I’m not sure if I’d ever be able to manage to become skilled at relating faith and culture. Nor can I really think of much I could contribute to culture, being lacking in artistic skill. (Now, if you wanted your pantry well organized and that could count towards contributing to culture, I’d be set. ;-D) It really comes down to attempting to reflect God’s image to the world, to being all God has made us to be. And, I think, with God’s help I can work on that. But, as Staub says:

“Renegotiating our relationship with the world and its systems of thinking and behaving is one of the biggest challenges we face when we seek to become fully human and reflect God’s image.”

There is a difficult work to do in how we relate to culture in our Christian lives, and this book is a great starting place.

Publisher’s summary:
“I think Dick Staub is right: the Christian community in the United States is at a crossroads. If we don’t heed the voices of ‘culturally savvy’ and reflective leaders like Dick, our children and grandchildren will inherit forms of religion that are unworthy of their loyalty and commitment. But if we take these voices seriously, we could be on the verge of a new era of Christian faith, life, and mission—good for our churches, our children, and our world.”–Brian McLaren, author and activist (brainmclaren.net)

Our frenzied and fickle worship of vapid celebrities; ostentatious displays of wealth; and fake, plastic perceptions of human beauty speak volumes about the soulless nature of our contemporary culture. How can Christians buck the trend to both experience and create a rich, satisfying spiritual and cultural life in a spiritually, intellectually, and creatively impoverished age?

In his incisive critique of contemporary culture and religion, Dick Staub concludes that though it is influential, American popular culture is generally superficial (diversionary, mindless, and celebrity–driven) spiritually delusional (moralistic, therapeutic, and deistic) and soulless (sustained not by art, craft, and ideas, but by the mad pursuit of profit propped up by marketing and technology). Similarly American Christianity has devolved into its own mindless, diversionary, and celebrity-driven superficiality.

Because humans are created in God’s image with spiritual, intellectual, creative, moral, and relational capacities, we long for more, yet the true seeker faces the lose-lose alternatives of a soul-numbing culture and a vacuous Christianity-lite. The renaissance we need in both faith and culture will originate in a deep spiritual renewal that restores God’s image in us and creates a new breed of culturally savvy, thoughtful creatives who rekindle the spiritual, intellectual, and creative legacy of Christians as enrichers of culture.
Online book shopping:
Powell’s: The Culturally Savvy Christian
amazon.co.uk: The Culturally Savvy Christian
amazon.com: The Culturally Savvy Christian
Audible.com: not currently available as audio.

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