DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Counter Culture to the Cave

Written by: on March 6, 2015

Counter culture to the Cave

March 5, 15

I am in love with the “Rebel Sell” it reaches the reality of what some people think about the normalcy of how things are done. It is amazing how it is so easy to accept the way things are done and how things are handed to you. I am dealing with this right now in my studies. It is not that you just naturally want to change things just for the sake of changing things, it is just that some people cant stomach the idea of being fed the same stuff when that does not satisfy the appetite. You are considered a troublemaker for just understanding the nature of things and letting someone know “hey that’s not right.” I don’t agree with every counter culture but I clearly can identify with their concept. As a Christian leader we must identify with church normalcy that is not meeting the needs of our churches or church members. The hardest thing to do is lead church leaders to change when they have waited their whole life to get into a position of authority that they have longed for all their life.

I watched a video of “Allegory of the cave” and they alluded to this in the book.

“It is one of the oldest themes in Western civilization. In the Republic, Plato compared life on earth to a cave, in which prisoners are shackled to the floor, seeing only shadows flickering across the wall from the light of a fire, When one prisoner escapes and makes his way to the surface, he discovers that the world he had been living in was nothing but a web of illusions. He returns to the cave bearing the news, yet finds that his former companions are still embroiled in petty disputes and bickering. He finds it difficult to take these “politics” seriously.”[1] This is one reason that you have to do something in the midst of knowing that some intuitions are operating like they are in a cave. If you can, watch this video on YouTube. What I learned from this is that some people like illusions. And to them it is important to not listen to any one who tells them what they see is not really light but just flickering of shadows. I watched the animated video and it was so illuminating. But what got me the most was that the guy who got out of the cave and saw the world the way it was, became endangered of his life. The people in the cave resented him so much that they actually wanted to kill him.

Counter culture is important so that people don’t remain in a cave. A revolution is always in order when a cave mentality continues to dominate the way people see things and it is just an illusion. Knowing something and not doing anything about it does not relieve a person from the responsibility. You are responsible if you know better. “He that knows to do right and doesn’t do it to him it sin.”

[1] Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, The Rebel Sell: Why the culture cant be Jammed (Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2004), 6.

About the Author


Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

27 responses to “Counter Culture to the Cave”

  1. mm Jon Spellman says:

    Travis, isn’t it interesting how that once you know something, it is impossible to UN-know it? Then the frustration begins to settle in because the majority of cave-dwellers have no interest in change… How do we help them venture above the surface?


    • Travis Biglow says:

      That is the delimma i am in. In the video i believe the one that escaped the cave just had to go off into the world and leave those bound by the chains in the chains and in the cave. On another note i pray that through this program and the study i am in i will find an effective way of shinning some light. Other than that being an example of what you know is right and what you believe is very instructional.

    • mm Mary Pandiani says:

      Isn’t that the bane and beauty of knowledge?

  2. mm Nick Martineau says:

    Thanks Travis…I definitely feel like this program is pulling me out of the cave. Caroline Ramsey was encouraging me to take all the time I need to “dwell in the moment” because we too often jump to conclusions about “noticing what might/should be.” I think Caroline is right…Instead of just being counter cultural I need to dwell a little longer on what is actually going on around me. Then…as I leave the cave…I’ll have a better sense of noticing action steps.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Time is important Nick. There is a time for everything even just being in the moment. A lot of times we feel like we have to be busy doing something when doing something may not be for that moment. I thank God he has been blessing me to realize that!

    • mm Mary Pandiani says:

      Great words to ponder…someone used the phrase “savor” as another way to stay in the moment.

  3. Phillip Struckmeyer says:

    Travis (or should I say Captain Cave Man!!!) Love your line, “Counter culture is important so that people don’t remain in a cave. A revolution is always in order when a cave mentality continues to dominate the way people see things and it is just an illusion.” It is funny how Heath and Potter call “counterculture” “cave living,” and I would say Heath and Potter are doing the “cave living” saying “counterculture” can’t change anything. Funny how that works. Good post friend.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Phil, it is so important for us who know that there is light and a real sun not a flickering shadow that people in the cave are used to. I hope i am Captain Cave man to liberate many from the chains in the cave! Ha ha ha!

  4. Dawnel Volzke says:

    I love this post – very good overview of why counter-culture is important. I think way too many people are comfortable in their caves. In many ways, churches can become like caves. We don’t see outside our walls, and we don’t welcome those who can bring us insight and knowledge from the world outside.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Amen Dawnel, that is why i pray that I can help some churches see that we can’t live like the capitalist and the spirit of it in the 21st Century!

  5. mm Dave Young says:

    Travis, While I also like where you went with the whole cave imagery and the importance of helping church people perceive where they really are… what really jumped out at me was this earlier line:

    “it is just that some people cant stomach the idea of being fed the same stuff when that does not satisfy the appetite.”

    So, it reminds me that a major part of consumerism in general and our own selfish nature is ‘getting what we want’. One of the punishments that God give his own people (both in the OT as seen in Hosea, and in the NT as seen in Ro. 1) to draw them back to wanting the creator more so than creating things, was the curse of an appetite that couldn’t be satisfied. Eating with never being full. Anyway, you’re really onto something. Hope you can help your folks see Giver over the gifts.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Exactly Dave, and then remeber what God gave them to eat they did not want it (manna). Its the same way today in the church. Some churches are not interested in what God is giving them to eat they are opting for other carnal appettites so sad!

  6. mm Mary Pandiani says:

    While Heath and Potter use The Matrix as a visual, I keep thinking of The Truman Show where life is in a bubble. With your cave allegory, you bring to mind our need to be aware of what just makes us feel good and what’s truth.

  7. mm Brian Yost says:

    “The hardest thing to do is lead church leaders to change when they have waited their whole life to get into a position of authority that they have longed for all their life.”

    It seems that there is an irony when it comes to change. When someone has no power, they grow frustrated and demand change; sometimes going countercultural to force the change. Over time, they gain more power and also learn how to navigate the system. For many people who start out as rebels wanting to change the world, by the time they reach a position in which they really can become an agent of change, they decide that they like the power and do not want to do anything that would jeopardize it.

    • Phillip Struckmeyer says:

      Good point Brian. To me it seems there has to be a willingness to sacrifice. When that gets lost in leadership, it doesn’t matter the level, the culture gets poisoned and somewhere inequality, exploitation, abuse of power is going to be on the rise. So hard to see that happen in the church and its damaging effects on lives.

      • Jon Spellman says:

        It’s interesting that in the pursuit of power, people many times begin with a true desire to make the world a better place, they want power in order to use it for the greater good. Then, once they acquire power, the allure is so strong that they don’t want to risk losing it So they shift from being counter-culture to dominant culture, to retain power.


      • Travis Biglow says:

        I really believe though that the leaders that God is raising up are going to stay true to the game. I lot of them have already experienced seculat success and they are not even interested in the church being in that catogory!

    • Dawnel Volzke says:

      Great points Brian – I’d also add that there is a difference between someone in a leadership position and a leader. If someone rises to a leadership position and becomes power hungry, then they aren’t really a leader.

    • Travis Biglow says:

      That is the down side of being radical or a rebel. You better be real about that change and not just a person who has a different idea. Because it may take a long time to get into a position to effect change. And if you not really about it you might get the chance to change things and won’t. I love this take on this Brian i must keep this in mind in my researsh thanks!

    • Travis Biglow says:

      This is a good flip side to this Brian and i must make sure i include this im my research because this is too true!

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