David Dark is a smart guy and a good writer who should really get more attention in general. He recently wrote a challenging and engaging article for Books and Culture about countercultural Christianity. His ideas of countercultural go beyond what you usually hear from those committed to the left or the right and challenges all of us to judge less, listen more, and humbly love everyone with our rhetoric, our politics, our money, and our interpersonal relationships. Dark suggests a kind of Christianity that is radical and diligent and impossible this side of the eschaton, but I think it’s an ideal that is consonant with the bible and worth remembering. You should read the whole article, but here’s a quote to whet your appetite:
“What if we began to believe that we are the kind of people who have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, who swear on the Bible and hold it aloft as if it were delivered by angels while making a mockery of its witness by regarding some lives as expendable, acceptable human sacrifices to the way of world markets—what would happen then? We might cease to speak in conversation-stoppers and become servants (ministers, minstrels) of an evangel that is more than mere affirmation of what we already think we know. We might use our words with more modesty and greater precision and an appropriate fear of speaking unfaithfully of good news that transcends our understanding. We don't have to let uptight power brokers (news networks, political administrations, corporations, advertising schemes) set the tone in which we speak to each other. We get to be more pentecostal than that. We get to dream new dreams. Set new terms. We get to imagine the world differently.”
What if Christianity became a behavior instead of a catch phrase? In some of my other reading recently I ran across an idea from John Milbank that the church is a reading of culture. I want to find the entire book to flesh out that idea more deeply, but I think it’s related to what Dark is talking about here. Why don’t we BE God’s word, instead of telling others what they are doing wrong?