Christians Don’t Have a Cultural Economy

Dr. Russell Moore, is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he has a podcast, Signposts. I recently listened to one with Timothy Keller, who I believe is a pastor and author. They discussed two topics that I found interesting–moral ecology and a cultural economy. Briefly, moral ecology involves a moral system or environment people operate or grow up within. Keller mentions three components–moral teaching, moral discourse, and moral examples. Studying the Bible, discussing concrete applications in real life, and parents modeling the behavior would all be examples of this, respectively. Keller says that if Christians go to church once a week, but during the rest of the engage in discourse from largely secular sources and/or don’t have individuals modeling a Christian world view, then individuals developing a Christian worldview and character will be almost impossible. (I’m paraphrasing him, so what I’m saying may not accurately reflect his views.)

Keller than briefly mentions cultural economy. Here, he mentions academia, the arts, journalism, and business all working together to produce a certain world view and values. His point is that Christians really don’t have a cultural economy–or at least not a very strong one. There are Christians in academia, the arts, journalism, and business, but do they all produce a strong type of cultural economy?

Here are some questions I’d like to explore:

  • Should there be a strong cultural economy in the U.S.?I’m asking this in terms of its desirability (for Christians) and the likelihood. For me, two reservations exist, off the top of my head: 1) if there were a strong Christian cultural economy it would be watered down, cheapened in some way, and 2) true Christian cultural economy would be marginal because it would be not of this world, hostile and too strange.
  • What are some examples of great art that would derive from a Christian perspective, versus a more secular one? To be clear, I’m not thinking only of explicitly Christian art works. The art works may mention or be about Christianity, but they would contain or express the mindset and values that come from a serious Christian–both of which would often be meaningfully different a non-believer. I can’t think of any examples (and I’m thinking of books, music, movies, dance, etc.) but I am interested in formulating a list.
  • Can social media become a crucial component of both a moral ecology and cultural economy? Or is there something inherent in the media that precludes this?

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