Monday, January 11, 2010

NEW CREATION Asks: Is There A Role For Theology & The Arts To Play In Mediating The American Culture Wars?

Last weekend saw the arrival of a splendid and urgently important Op/Ed piece by one of the most thoughtful thinkers of our day, David Brooks of PBS and The New York Times.

The article, entitled "The Tea Party Teens", lays bare that 2009 was (among other things) a vicious return of America's "culture wars" in a rather zealous fashion, with a larger canyon opening up not only between left and right, but between the educated class and the rest of the nation. The crucial and practical question which Brooks' article leads New Creation to ask is: "In what ways might a thoughtful and creative theological aesthetic(s) be able to mediate, re-frame, and reconcile the American culture wars?"

It's a particularly important questions for pastors-to-be in the United States, as many will soon find themselves in congregations where this problem stares them in the face.

Ruminate on this question (as well as others) and probe for your own answers after reading Brooks' "The Tea Party Teens."

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year. The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.

In the near term, the tea party tendency will dominate the Republican Party. It could be the ruin of the party, pulling it in an angry direction that suburban voters will not tolerate. But don’t underestimate the deep reservoirs of public disgust. If there is a double-dip recession, a long period of stagnation, a fiscal crisis, a terrorist attack or some other major scandal or event, the country could demand total change, creating a vacuum that only the tea party movement and its inheritors would be in a position to fill. Personally, I’m not a fan of this movement. But I can certainly see its potential to shape the coming decade.

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