Good Friday. Hello. Anyone?

04.02.21 | Coffee Stained Notebook | by John Jones

Good Friday. Hello. Anyone?



    It’s Good Friday. I suspect that many of my neighbors (and yours) have no idea. I may be wrong. Was there a time when you could greet your neighbor, “Happy Good Friday,” and they would know what you meant? I became a Christian in the late 80s, in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m probably not the one to ask. 

    Which brings me to consider the great flurry of publishing lately on the subject of Christianity and culture, and how (and if) the former engages the latter. To keep things straight, Myles Wentz over at Mere Orthodoxy has done an excellent job of summarizing nine resources published since 2016 (I can think of a few he doesn’t cover).  

    Wentz, in Christianity and Culture in an Age of Crisis, divides these resources into three distinct approaches to Christian engagement of culture. In many ways, there is nothing surprising or utterly novel here in light of H. Richard Niebuhr’s 1975, Christ and Culture. As Wentz makes his survey, he shares the three approaches of these recent books in this way: 

    The first is that of building up the congregation, and letting the assumptions of cultural steerage go by the wayside. Two in particular — Noble and Camp — see this as the heart of Christian attention that always needed recovering. The second is the way of cultural recovery through a renewal of Christian community, seen in Esolen and Dreher, and in Reno, albeit in a nationalist key. The third way is that of tactical engagement, knowing that the future is uncertain and striving for faithfulness anyway, as seen in Joustra and Wilkinson, Wilson-Hartgrove, Meador, and Dark. 

    Do you need to get a lay of the landscapeI sure do. This is a complex subject and one in which very-intelligent Christian men and women hold and practice a variety of opinionsWentz has deftly performed a very important service. This is a useful article. 

    So, join me in reading Wentz’s helpful article as you ask yourself, “How important is it that my neighbor knows that Good Friday, also called Great or Holy Friday, commemorates the day when God’s Son, my Savior, hung on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin and to secure my eternal salvation?” 

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