1. Yeah. There’s an absolute truth/reality/ etc in the way the universe exists and how God made things. It’s our INTERPRETATION of it that’s subjective. That’s why the ‘follow your heart’ idea in some Disney movies is nonsense. Yes, instinct and emotion can help in making decisions, and using our conscience is important. But, in a lot of cases, Disney didn’t really do a good job of showing how to use those things correctly. Instead, it sort of came off as ‘go wherever your emotions lead you, and it’ll be the right thing!’

    The hard thing about culture is that it isn’t all one simple thing. There are probably hundreds of cultures and subcultures in the United States alone. And everyone engages with their cultures differently. So, I dunno, I guess that’s just more points toward your last paragraph.

    • Exactly, Autumn. What one culture thinks is wrong, another one may think is OK or even right. Only when we’re in proper relationship with God can we see what the world system is. Reminds me of Don Richardson’s Peace Child. Do you know that true story?


      • Maybe I’ve heard the story, but the title doesn’t sound familiar to me and I’ve never read it. What’s it about?

        • Don and his wife were missionaries to a tribe—in South America, I think, or maybe Indonesia (I’ll have to look that up). When they’d learned the language and began sharing about Jesus, this group of head-hunters cheered Judas because in their culture, betrayal was a virtue. Just the opposite value from what western culture holds. But, the Richardsons soon discovered that there was a value higher than betrayal: a peace child. If an enemy tribe wanted peace with a neighboring enemy, the chief would give his son to the other tribe’s chief, to raise as his own. That insured they would never attack that village because his son now lived there. From that cultural value, Don taught that God had sent His Peace Child to make peace with the world.


  2. Sarah Daffy says:

    Hi, Rebecca! Just had a quick question. When is the 2019 Spec Faith Summer Writing Challenge? Thanks!

  3. Travis Perry says:

    Rebecca, thanks for your post continuing what I had to say.

    Though I think you started right off by asking a question I never asked and framing the issue in a way I never actually intended or in fact implied. You said: “I suppose the obvious first question to ask is this: is culture really a poison pill?”

    I never said culture broadly is a poison pill–I said certain elements of culture can be poison pills but not all are. (E.g. I said not every 80s song is like Jessie’s Girl, said that we should go through a sorting process–meaning some things are not poisonous, etc.)

    Yes, you quite correctly identified that I directly said that what is or is not poison is at least to a degree per individual–what may be poison to you may not be poison to me, and vice versa.

    Yes, I also quite agree that Christians need a strong personal relationship with God in order to truly deal with those issues that can be problems for us. And also, as I stated and you agreed, as individuals each one of us is responsible for our own issues–no one else should be in the role of playing our conscience, even if other people can give us helpful reminders or warnings. No one other than the Holy Spirit, that is.

    I also appreciate you mentioning how exposure to Schindler’s List is not a exhortation to mass murder…but I never in fact would have implied it was. Showing mass murder in a way that is painful or tragic does not encourage mass murder or desensitize anyone to it. Normalization does not go out of its way to demonstrate something is awful, not usually anyway.

    Thinking that I was referring to all and any portrayal of sin as desensitizing would actually be a mischaracterization of my point. A pretty extreme mischaracterization, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.

    Note also that desensitization towards sin I only meant to be an example of how something in culture might be a “poison pill,” a launching point to get into the topic. I have no objections to Kristin Janz saying that she finds herself more tempted to look down on the lost world with contempt than adopt the things they do. Yes, I can understand that is her type of poison–but I already stated that not everyone necessarily has the same poisons.

    Desensitization (a.k.a. normalization) was not the only thing I cared about–it was only one (strong) example to illustrate that certain elements of culture can be damaging to us. Though as you noted yourself, desensitization has been a major tool used in arts and culture to transform our society’s views of many things, including homosexuality.

    But, as you also noted, I clearly and repeatedly said it’s up to *us* (and yes, the Holy Spirit) to find our own triggers and avoid them if we need to avoid them. If I had meant to say all exposure to sin is desensitizing and therefore we should avoid all examples, where would that be allowing for any individual choice or conscience?

    So clearly, that is NOT what I meant.

    Again, thanks for your comments and the opportunity you gave me to clarify a few things.

  4. Travis Perry says:

    Rebecca, just one more thing. You said:

    “Is the only way to survive to divorce ourselves from anything that could potentially harm us? Or our kids? Our families?

    That approach doesn’t seem to explain why Jesus left us in the world instead of taking us out. It almost seems to say, God was wrong about leaving us here because it’s just too dangerous, so we’ll do what He didn’t: we’ll take ourselves out of the world as much as possible.”

    With respect, you have no right to tell another person acting on his or her conscience what is realistic for them to do or not do in the world. You of course are entitled to your opinion and to speak it–but individual Christians guided by the Holy Spirit have to decide what is and is not too much for each individual. If someone says, “I would be better off never watching television, ever” (as just one example of many possible types of cultural disengagement) it is not up to us to condemn that person for that choice.

    The spirit we wish to cultivate is to encourage individuals to be sensitive to their own triggers in relation to culture and thus neither to condemn those who engage in what I (or you, or someone else) can’t engage in nor to condemn those who abstain from what I (or you, or someone else) enjoys.

    • I totally agree, Travis. I don’t think what you’re saying is the same thing as what I’m talking about when I say “divorcing ourselves” from dangerous things, but I wasn’t clear. I do think we should have standards for our lives and our conduct, in some measure as a protection. I don’t (generally) watch R-rated movies. But that’s not a hard and fast “rule” because there are some R-rated movies that can inform in a necessary way (like Shindler’s List).

      Back when I was in college, before I had thought through my movie-going standards, I saw some pretty bad films. Some I’m glad I saw because they revealed culture in an informative way, and not in a way that approved of the wickedness. Exposed it, yes. Did not give any satisfactory answer to the problems, but exposed the evil. Others seemed to revel in the evil, and, in fact, normalize it.

      In part I had in mind people who warned others away from Harry Potter because it was about “witchcraft.” Well, actually it wasn’t. It was about a pretend magic world, but without a willingness to engage the culture, a Christian would not see ways to use that story to connect with others for the sake of the gospel.

      Interestingly, I just heard a message today on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg, about this same topic. Well worth listening to, I think. (He includes a great example). Here’s the description of the 24 minute message: “How should Christians think through issues of social justice? Should we be involved in cultural and political matters?”


What do you think?