It’s interesting….that while this book is about technology…I don’t find myself reminiscing on tech that much after reading it.
This chapter is called Reflection (you can unlock it here). I have affection for several things; one of those things is church ritual. I LOVE liturgy – I own several books on liturgical services – simply to have them to study and learn. In this chapter John talks a lot about culture.
As an example, I live in Westfield, IN. Westfield was founded by Quakers. The anti-slavery sentiment ran high in Westfield and it attributed to the vast number of churches in the area and thus, a high religious atmosphere. There are stories of the Methodist women (from the church I currently serve – you can see our church history here) storming a local bar and burning it to the ground.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, is known for The Wesleyan Quadrilateral. The Quadrilateral explains how we can know God. One of the ways is tradition – how we’ve always done it – looking back over history shows us how we can know God. The same can be said of culture, however as John points out:
“We don’t live in the Garden of Eden, and the things, images, and rituals of today’s cultures and subcultures don’t always reflect the values of our Creator. The wickedness of much of today’s culture has led some to believe that culture is synonymous with worldliness. Therefore it’s hard to believe that culture and technology actually existed in the garden” (pg 50).
John shows that the first tools developed in Eden. Adam created language and it changed things. Just last week, it was great to watch my son mull over, ponder, and finally categorize “the spinny zoo” (aka a merry-go-round). Language was a tool for Adam – it shaped his culture. It changed the lives of Eve and their children (pg 51).
“Language is not only purposed for the transfer of information. Another aspect of language that makes it more tool-like is that we actually use language to accomplish something” (pg 53).
We do many things with language that cause change. God spoke the world into being – his tool to shape the world.
“God designed the world in such a way to be cultivated and shaped by humanity, and when we create we are operating as God’s image bearers” (pg 54).
Check out this week's post on ChurchMag by Greg Deitz.