The post on message, medium and market place, has prompted some great discussions, thanks to everyone who posted.
Without a rethinking of the message of the church, our culture will continue to find our new and existing church forms unconnecting. My next fews posts will explore some of the consequences of this, the first today is the issue of cultural neutering.
One of the criticisms of the modern church is the cultural neutering at work in the church. Brian McLaren and Anthony Campolo reflect this in their question:
'Are our churches and broadcasts and books and organizations merely creating religious consumers of religious products and programmes? Are we creating a self-isolating, self-serving, self-perpetuating, self centered subculture . . . However unintentionally, we can neuter the very Gospel we seek to live and proclaim'(Adventures in Missing the Point, p.11-12)
In other words, for people to become christians, they have to be culturally neutered, and step into a church world so utterly alien from the context they live in. We force people to go to alien spaces, and use christian jargon, and alienate them from the message of the Gospel.
Yet in trying to avoid the neutering process we can actually perpetuate it. We may create a new emerging church subculture that is as culturally neutering for modern church people and postmodern people outside the church. Relevance is important, but in many cases it is can be largely superficial and focused on re-branding and marketing, however unintentional. Without an examination of the things we believe, and our message, the church becomes obsessed with the acceptable and trendy, and can become more self-focused and irrelevant.
Cultural neutering takes several forms, that I'll look at over the next few days.