Wednesday, September 06, 2006

salvation in the arms of another

It’s a line from a song (Salvation), by Rae and Christian, from 2001 Sleepwalking album. It became a theme song for my gospel in post-Christian class this week. We looked at the fiction of Douglas Coupland; the endings to 3 of his books; Generation X, 1991; Life after God, 1994; Hey Nostradamus, 2003.

It is fascinating to realise that each book ends exploring themes of salvation; salvation from human loss and need into reconciliation of human relationships in Hey Nostradamus; salvation from human selfishness into a life of giving and serving through creation, through death to self (with sacramental hints of cleansing and baptism) in Life after God; salvation from aloneness into mutual acceptance in community through surrendering the love of the mentally challenged in Generation X.

As a class we then reflected on the narrow ways that salvation is presented in modernity. We contrasted this with the richness of Biblical images. We decided that Biblical images of God as Family restorer (Luke 15) and Environmental integrator (Colossians 1:18-20) in fact connect with the endings and the salvific themes in contemporary culture, specifically in Douglas Coupland’s work.

What a shame if the church was actually preaching a limited gospel that was in fact disconnected from the salvific search in our culture. It was a great class.

Relevant parts of the lecture notes are here if you’re interested.

Posted by steve at 04:17 PM


  1. The critique of Michael W. Smith’s song is a much needed critique. This, in a nutshell, shows the reduction of the gospel.

    Comment by Keith — September 7, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

  2. This is great Steve, I’d love to hear it in the flesh! Rae and Christian and Coupland.. why were my lecturors never that cool! 😉 If you do ever get chance to come over here perhaps some of your thoughts the fulness of salvation/the gospel would form an excellent ‘Blah’

    Comment by Mark Berry — September 7, 2006 @ 8:04 pm

  3. cheers mark. this all feels pretty ordinary – its simply taking some our culture and looking at it in light of the biblical texts. my point wasn’t to be cool, the point was that these people (coupland etc) are the people I enjoy reading and yet provide examples of the Spirit at work in the world around us. happy to come to UK, just need to be invited by enough groups to pay for the airfare. 🙂

    Comment by steve — September 7, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

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