Maybe it's time for another Get Up Off Your Knees book excerpt. This is from Raewynne's essay " 'Woo me, sister; move me, brother!' What does pop culture have to do with preaching? "

Culture critiques and shapes faith; faith critiques and shapes culture. The relationship is dialectical � as we pay attention to a specific instance of the influence of culture on faith, we become aware of where that influence has itself been shaped by faith, and so on, in a never-ending dance....

Christianity likewise has both shaped and been shaped by the cultures that surround it. In the New Testament period, we see instances of its accommodation to the Greco-Roman world � for example, in discussions of circumcision, women covering their heads, and the eating of unclean meats � and, particularly from the time of Constantine on, its centrality in shaping Western civilization.

But for the most part, this happens not so much on a formal level, in the councils of the church or through direct Scriptural decree, but on an informal level, in the lives and communities of the faithful, from which it trickles up to the structures. People grab hold of their culture in one hand and their religion in the other, and then try to work out how it is that they can not only co-exist, but be in harmony. They ask questions and forge answers, they look for places of genuine coherence, for authentic emotion, for congruity with experience. Both culture and religion tap into the very essence of who we are; they are the building blocks of our identity. It is no wonder, then, that they are integrally and substantially related.

And that is particularly true of the relationship between pop culture, as expressed in music, and Christian faith. Robert Schreiter suggests in his book,
Constructing Local Theologies, that �the poet, the prophet, the teacher . . . may be among those who give leadership to the actual shaping into words of the response of faith.� They give voice to the voices that are not being heard.

It is here that U2 belongs: singing the laments of Zion, echoing the prophetic shouts for justice, calling the faithful and the faith-less to action. And with U2 join the many preachers who have heard the band�s work and struggled to give voice to the theologies which emerge from its interaction with the sacred. They give voice not only to their own longings and hopes, but to those of our culture alongside those of our tradition � so that we learn to speak a truly colloquial language of faith.

No comments: