In our never ending quest to convince folks that words mean things and that the cacophony that surrounds us, even thought it may sound like gibberish is comprehensible and worthy of study if for no other reason than to drive us to God’s word and mercy.
The word for today is culture. Everyday we hear commentaries on the “culture” and no on really seems to be able to tell us what our culture is. We have folks that look down upon the culture of the middle of the country with a strange sort of queasiness and call it a creepy kind of traditionalism. Some of us look at the culture of the East and West coasts and wonder how the enlightened can somehow believe in lawlessness and see freedom as license to “do what thou wilt”. That was Alistair Crowley’s motto and should be remarked upon because “culture” comes from the word “cult”. Cult means a devotion to a deity. American culture was considered a Judeo-Christian culture for years and of course that is pretty much joked about and denigrated now.
It may be a stretch but a Christian culture is based upon forgiveness which is based on the need for forgiveness which means a recognition of something that needs to be forgiven. It used to be called sin. Forgiveness is a good thing that leads to happiness and what we used to call well balanced individuals.
Martin Franzmann writing in the early 70’s was stunning in his observations. I wonder what he would say about today. What is our culture, and what deity are focused on. Here is Franzmann –
“The forgiven man, we read in Luke, “justifies God” (Lk 7 : 29). He accepts God’s verdict on his sin as a true verdict and glorifies God for admitting him into the Kingdom in terms of forgiveness. Thc unforgiven man must justify himself, ceaselessly. Look at the church, how self-justification has left its slimy mark on our churchmanship, our scholarship, and has become incarnate in our one- upmanship. Look around in the world for symptoms of the self- justifying man: the rich supply of righteous indignation, rebel against Establishment, Establishment against rebel, etc., etc. Our cxtrcme sensitivity to other mens sins, our acute perceptiveness for other men’s hypocrisy. The barbarous yawp of rebellion, the self-pitying yowl of the desolate, the yammer of the pauperized, the erotic yip of the emancipated-all these arc marks of the unforgiven man, who cannot look upon God’s face and call him Father. The unforgiven man transfers his guilt to the world, thus justifying himself. Because he is, in the desolate grayness of his unforgiven sin, one grown dull, stale, flat, and unprofitable. All the uses of this world are drier, stale, flat, unprofitable too.”