The world is going mad.
I find myself thinking this as I flick through social media. In fact, I often forget that this is the real world and not an episode of Black Mirror. The idea that we inhabit some surreal, utopian fantasy seems to resonate in every area of our lives.
In the This Cultural Moment podcast, John Mark Comer and Mark Sayers examine the oddities and quirks of western society. Our modern lifestyles pursue ‘the progressive vision’, as we chase the promise of this Black Mirror-esque utopia. Sayers calls this superficial dream ‘the beautiful world’.
Kingdom without a King
The podcast explores ‘the beautiful world’ as a kingdom without a king. Secular society marches forwards in the name of progressivism – but towards what? We have progressed past Christianity, into a post-Christian chaos. With no boundaries, rules or values to truly underpin the movement (except the un-values of freedom and individualism), secular society is moral anarchy. ‘The beautiful world’ is a facade of image-consciousness and obsession with appearances, leaving little underneath. What are we are we living for? Or rather, who are we living for?
God’s name is now google
Author Douglas Coupland says that God’s name is now Google (it could have been Yahoo, of course, but they lost out). Our culture worships big business and idolises information. We no longer put God on the throne of the universe, instead it’s ourselves and our own inventions. Sayers and Comer talk about secularism as ‘a cultural framework that works against believing – it undermines our faith and challenges our convictions. The society we live in sets out to only profit from us, and, along the way, distances us from God.
In that self-imposed distance to God we turn to consumerism, which fails to fulfil our discontent. And we don’t care at what price that consumerism comes at. The exploitation of both people and planet is disregarded as we blindly pursue more than we need. By turning away from the God of justice, we turn away from seeing justice for those living in poverty. Secularism reinforces the systems and structures that hold people in poverty.
But secularism simply cannot find meaning. It can’t find meaning in a flat white, another stamp on the passport, or a trip to IKEA. Secularism can’t find meaning in radical individualism, consumerism or materialism. The progressive West and its hollow culture can’t quench our spiritual thirst – only Jesus can.
So what does this cultural moment mean for us?
We have to:
- Live out our faith
- Fix our eyes on God
- Deepen our understanding of the Bible
- Resist the status quo
- Intentionally pursue community
It is through staying connected to God and standing with each other against the negative messages we are fed, that we can see a better world come into existence. While it’s easy to be swayed by the culture of the present day, we must live with an eternal perspective. Just like our never-changing Father, we can remain pillars in society who point to a better way. So as you enter 2020, ask yourself – where have you let this cultural moment seep into your everyday life? Perhaps it’s time to rediscover a culture of faith and justice.