Thursday, June 03, 2021

My Calling in the Culture Wars


                                                       (Lake Erie, Monroe, Michigan)

I'm reading Jacques Ellul's Presence in the Modern World. Early in the book Ellul shares his calling from God, hence his raison d'etre, rooted in Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I share this calling, too. Ellul explains.

“Do not be conformed to the present age.” There are two possible conformities. The first is voluntary adherence (and for this, it was enough to understand political programs, economic plans, and doctrines). But what drew me more, and what seemed to me to fit the level of Paul’s thinking, was unconscious, involuntary adherence—which is so evident in this present age that we don’t even think about it: these unspoken rules, taboos, and unquestioned truths that form a group’s unconscious and subconscious. The “present age” is filled with evidence of this. But I completely rejected the interpretation by which this “present age” (aiōn) is a kind of metaphysical reality, opposed to the coming kingdom, and always the same in itself. This present age was neither the particular one that Paul inhabited, nor a mysterious entity that was always the same; to me, each generation needed to recognize that it concerns its own age. So I needed to devote myself to discerning the foundations, structures, and components of the present “age,” . . . that is, the twentieth century. To do this, it would be necessary to understand the most important facts and also to interpret them accurately." (Emphasis mine.)

This is why I pay virtually no attention to social media posts and chats and arguments, since they exemplify "unconscious, involuntary adherence" to worldviews and ideologies. As best I can, I am looking at "foundations, structures, and components of the present age." 

More people are needed here.