Thursday, March 30, 2006

DJing gospel and culture

I was with a lecture class a few weeks ago, talking about gospel and culture. We tend to polarise into two camps; withdrawal from culture or assimilation into culture. This duality blights the emerging church. We get accused of assimilation; of buying into postmodernity. I think a much more subtle process is at work, and I offered the class the following three symbols (gift from Steve Collins).
Juxtapose: placing two contrasting things alongside each other. In doing so, we allow a new mix to emerge from the contradiction.
Subvert: using one thing to alter the meaning of another thing.
Amplify: two things that together enhance and compliment.

The emerging engagement with postmodernity is complex. At times we amplify the culture (e.g. we wonder if Web 2.0 amplifies what it means to be the body of Christ); at times we subvert the culture (e.g. we become passionate about creativity and imagination because we realise that creativity is sourced in God. In this realisation, we declare that creativity is not for Holywood pleasure, but it is to respect the image of God, as seen in the poor and marginalised); at times we juxtapose the culture (e.g. while respecting the full embodiment of humanity, we choose not to follow the increasing sexualisation of women in contemporary culture.) Reducing the emerging church to “assimilation” totally bypasses these realities.

Anyhow, students found the concept helpful. And I like the visuals, so I thought I would post it.

For a QT e-video of me being interviewed about this in relation to culture, download here (11 MB); for more on DJing, including where I explore how this is happening in 1 Peter, and engage with the work of Miroslav Volf, read out of bounds church? book); also check out the outofbounds blog.

Posted by steve at 11:40 AM


  1. Thanks steve I find this really helpful. Would you mind if I use them sometime?

    Comment by gordon — March 31, 2006 @ 2:20 am

  2. G’day Steve, thanks for the interesting and thought-provoking post. I don’t really know what “emergent” is, but I’m a Christian and struggle with traditional Christianity. Thanks for helping me understand society and culture and my place in it (not totally in it, neck deep, but not totally out of it).

    Keep up the good work, I’ll have to hunt down your book.



    Comment by Thomas Williams — April 2, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

  3. Go ahead Gordon. if you want to re-use the visuals it would pay to check with Steve Collins (URL in the post).

    Thanks Thomas. You can buy my book on amazon if you want; just click on my sidebar.

    Comment by steve — April 2, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

  4. Hi Steve!
    we of Kubik, Germany had a service inspired by this theme: Djing gospel and culture. The two turntables symbolised how the both of them could be mixed together. I was reminded of your book and for sure some thoughts of this came straight out of it.
    Steve is great on visual stuff – I remember him blogging on “when I look at something longer than two minutes it starts to become a picture of church” – he also visited Kubik once and added some pictures to his smallfire site.
    So thanks for the inspiration and challenge – keep it up…

    Comment by Bjoern Wagner — April 3, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

  5. Thanks Bjoern. I checked out depone’s website and the service looked great. I love the mix of Jesus, community participation and the ritual of nailing up records.

    Comment by steve — April 5, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

  6. Hmmmm…this is really interesting food for thoughts! The visual is very good help indeed. Thank you Steve! :))

    Comment by Mark — April 5, 2006 @ 4:56 pm

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