Three significant works on culture, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, David Goetz’s Death By Suburb, and James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World, offer insights into the complexity of culture and what it means for the Christian to be a faithful presence in the world.
We can do better! Why are we playing public relations when we should be preaching God’s Word?
Funerals provoke a clash of cultures. Perhaps nowhere is the secular age felt more forcefully than at a church memorial service. The prayers, hymns, and testimonies are respected for their aesthetic and therapeutic value. In the moment they are inspirational. But when the pastor begins to preach the mood of the audience shifts. There is a restlessness, visible in shifting bodies, invisible in shifting minds. In a Christ-haunted culture, the audience anticipates the gospel, but is unsettled by it. Skeptics stiffen. Nominal Christians daydream. Teenagers roll their eyes. The preacher’s familiar words are no longer believed, but tolerated as an old custom.