Defending The (Christian) Subculture
By Keith Giles
At the moment there are two articles over at TheOoze.com on the evils of the Christian Subculture written by yours truly. So far the response has been largely favorable, but there have been a few vocal defenders of the Subculture who have risen up against my attack. To be honest, I did expect to get negative feedback on these articles. In fact, my greatest surprise came when I received such vocal support in favor of my position that the Christian Subculture must die.
As I ponder on the ferocity of such impassioned defense, I have to admit I don't understand what it is that people feel they are protecting. What is it they are defending? I wonder if those who oppose my attack on the Christian Subculture have blurred the line between the Christian Marketplace and the Kingdom of God?
One detractor said as much, "...to rant about destroying the Christian Subculture is nothing less than a call to destroy the church universal." (from 'b0bbieb0b' over at TheOoze.com)
But this is a great and serious misunderstanding of what the Christian Subculture actually is. The Christian Subculture is NOT the Church Universal.
This response is similar to what I hear when I suggest that the Church isn't a building or an entrepreneurial venture lead by professional clergy. People in the modern American Church have blurred the lines between corporate expressions of worship, the consumer-driven subculture, the actual Church, and the Kingdom of God.
For example, Biblically the only building spoken of regarding the Church is you and I.
"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." - 1 Peter 2:5
The Church, then, as Paul and Peter describe it in their epistles, is made up only of people, not some structure built by human hands.
So the Church is not a specific building where believers gather each week. That is not "The Church". This means that if you were to leave First Baptist of Tulsa in order to start a house church in your living room, you have NOT "Left the Church" because you ARE the Church.
The only way to "Leave the Church" would be to walk away from Jesus and follow another religious belief system entirely.
The Christian Subculture is also not the Church. It is a man-made system of thought that encourages followers of Jesus to express their identity through the consumption of "Jesus-Branded" products and services. It exists to perpetuate its own existence and success through the sale of more and more "Jesus-Branded" products and services. It creates and encourages a climate of "Us vs Them" between Christians and Non-Christians in order to sell more product. The catch words for this Subculture are "Safety", "Comfort" and "Sacred".
Apparently people cannot imagine being a follower of Jesus apart from this Christian Subculture. Why is that? Is it that we've been conditioned for so long to exist and behave and participate in this way that the idea of being just a simple follower of Jesus is foreign to us? Why is it so unthinkable that you and I could enjoy a vibrant, deep and intense relationship with Jesus apart from the Christian Marketplace?
What I also find fascinating is how this Christian Subculture is largely an American creation. Friends of mine in England find it hilarious that we publish "Christian Phone Directories" where believers can call a Christian Plumber to fix their toilet or a Christian Pizza parlor to deliver their pizza.
I'm currently reading the book "Walk On" by Steve Stockman. It's a look at the spiritual journey of Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr., who, collectively with bassist Adam Clayton, are known as the Irish rock band "U2". In the book Stockman points out early on that U2 managed to become the most spiritually relevant band in the world today because they managed to avoid the clutches of the Christian Subculture. Had they felt the need to create music that would be acceptable to the religious set, the band would have relegated itself, and its message, to obscurity.
There is a serious need in today's American Church for a re-education of terminology. We need to understand the difference between The Church, the Subculture, and The Kingdom of God. These are key elements for us to find clarity on, otherwise we will become confused and easily lead astray by the masses.
I suppose I can understand that this sort of thinking will take time to settle into people's minds. This is a new way of talking and it's against the grain for thousands of people and we're up against hundreds of years of tradition.
The exciting thing for me is that God is beginning to call His people out of this quagmire. He is burning away the dross and exposing the beautiful, radiant Bride underneath.
Let's get the fire started, shall we?
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For more info on the "Send Gap Clothes Back" Protest on Dec.16th go here:http://www.sendgapclothesback.com/
On Dec.16th, 2007, hundreds of young people will gather at Gap Stores around the country to give back their GAP, Inc. clothing in order to protest the retail chain's slave labor practices.
"December 16th is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party," said J.R., organizer of the planned protest. "We want to make a similar statement, as young people who have helped Gap build their clothing empire with our clothing purchases, that we no longer want to buy our clothes from an organization that supports or employs child slaves to produce their products."
The planned event will involve hundreds of young protesters who are encouraged to bring all of their Gap, Inc. clothes items (which include Bannanna Republic and Old Navy) to the nearest Gap store and drop them on the front doorstep with a note to the owners that they will no longer support the retail chain or purchase their clothes.