DMINLGP

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

The Truth is Out There

Written by: on February 22, 2018

Perhaps watching episodes of the X-Files while reading Heath & Potter’s book “The Rebel Sell” was not the wisest decision I made this week. While taking my journey through communism to consumerism, and trying to visualize things through the eyes of Kurt Cobain, Adolph Hitler, Sigmund Freud and Fox Mulder, I kept hoping to myself…the Truth must really be out there. The authors’ suggestion that, “the world that we live in is not real. Consumer capitalism has taken every authentic human experience, transformed it into a commodity and then sold it back to us through advertising and the mass media;”[1] left me with the imagery of the alien invasion that has so adequately taken over the world and deceived us all. Are we all truly lying to ourselves with our corrupted illusions of freewill, while in all actuality, we simply live the life that others have convinced us is necessary to live for true happiness. Is it possible for a Coca-Cola ad to give my life a feeling of self-worth, or the implied need for fulfillment could be satisfied by what blue jeans I am wearing? If this is the case, then how does non-conformity play a part in my relationship with Christ and the role that consumerism has on the Christian movement.

As a Christian, I have always believed that it was/is possible to make a difference in the modern world by teaching others the need for incorporation of God’s Word into their lives. Sadly, however, I have also noticed that the world is guilty of placing more pitfalls in the way of Christians and their efforts than I believe has ever been placed before. With the icons of advertising, media, and internet, the speed by which evangelism is able to progress, is limited by the mass effects of alternative teachings. According to the reading, the threat is even greater than anticipated: “Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.”[2] The world is oblivious to the power that Satan and evil play in their lives these days; they have become so numb and bombarded by filth that they do not even realize that they have become as much a part of the problem as the wickedness itself. So that bids the question…am I right in believing that it is possible to make a difference…or is conformity the truth that is out there.

As I read through this book, the same Scripture kept popping into my head; Romans 12:1-2. “1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

The major concept in this reading seemed to be rooted in the need for a counter-cultural revolution; or rather the need to react to society in a way contrary to the direction it was headed. The idea that people have conformed so much to the brainwashing that society has been selling them through advertising that it was necessary for the world to finally fight back…providing it was not already too late. As Christians, though I am not completely as “rebel” bound as the reading may have implied, I do support the need for counter-cultural teachings. The reality is that Christ was a rebel of the highest degree in my opinion. He sought out the leaders in the church, corrected and rebuked them, and then demanded reform. I do believe that He focused on religious government and not political government, so there is a difference between the approaches of Christianity in that aspect today as well…or at least should be. However, I shared in my Bible class recently that when the serpent first approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he was trying to sell her something; he tried to convince her that she was not good enough with what God had provided her and therefore, she needed to have more. And here lies the battle…for too long, we have always bought into the advertising sales pitch that we needed more, and as a result, we sold out.

However, is the answer to throw out the system, which seems to be the proposed plan in the reading? “Here’s where Heath and Potter get into their main argument: that the countercultural idea of “throwing out the system” is not only unrealistic—it hinders reasonable political aspirations and creates disregard for valid social norms that promote law, order, and prosperity.”[3] I believe part of the challenge of Christianity is living in a method of integration without conformity; it is not possible to live outside of the world, but it is possible for us to shine through its darkness. The reality is that the world is always going to be contrary to the will of God…but does that mean His people have to be? Philippians 2:15 reads, “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shin as lights in the world.” The reality is that the world has always had a perverted perception of things when compared to the path that Christ came to set for us. It is not a new theology to learn that the world is teaching things contrary to the bible, nor that the devil is still trying to convince us that we still need more than God has given us to be happy or complete. I have always loved 2 Timothy 3:16-17, because it provides us with the confidence that we need to overcome the teachings of the world and Satan; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We should never allow someone else to convince us that God has not provided His people with all that they need, nor should we ever be convinced that we are inadequate. This is the way of Satan and we should never give him that kind of satisfaction.

Bibliography

Boles, Blake. Book Review: The Rebel Sell. Dec 13, 2017. http://www.blakeboles.com/2012/11/book-review-the-rebel-sell/ (accessed February 22, 2018).

Heath, Joseph & Andrew Potter. The Rebel Sell: Why Culture Can’t be Jammed. Toronto: Harper Perennial, 2004.

[1] Heath, Joseph & Andrew Potter. The Rebel Sell: Why Culture Can’t be Jammed. Toronto: Harper Perennial, 2004. Pg 5.

 

[2] Ibid, pg 29.

[3] Boles, Blake. Book Review: The Rebel Sell. Dec 13, 2017. http://www.blakeboles.com/2012/11/book-review-the-rebel-sell/ (accessed February 22, 2018).

 

About the Author

Shawn Hart

9 responses to “The Truth is Out There”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    Shawn,
    Yes! Satan’s influence in the world is much like an “alien invasion” to the globalized cultures overrun by technology, information, communication, and yes consumerism. I fear for the lost souls that are still out there, because the unreached and least reached are being reached, Praise the Lord! The time is coming, and it is already here, that Christ will appear suddenly and then the dead in Christ and the living Christians will join him in the clouds and remain with him forever. Now that might look like an alien abduction to those left behind for sure! All of that to say, go, preach, heal, baptize, and disciple with urgency!
    I am so glad to hear you describe how the “world is oblivious to the power of Satan.” Now, we need our whole team to see this with clear eyes, so we can help the scales fall of the eyes of those we serve, lead, and provide ministry. Well, I think you know the answer theologically to your question of making a difference; our efforts are like dirty rags, but “in Christ” all things are possible.
    Excellent conclusion! Put on your full armor and stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
    M. Webb

  2. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Shawn,

    Romans 12:2 is also the Scripture I focused in on. You and me, thinking alike! I am happy about that.

    Jesus was certainly counter-cultural, and not conforming to the pattern of this world says it all. In the world, but not of the world, right?

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Amen Jay…though thinking like me may not always be a good idea…I’m weird. LOL. I believe that the pressure to do like everyone else does is one of the great tools of the Devil. Self-esteem and peer pressure go hand in hand…make me feel worthless and I will submit; however, I find my worth from better places in Christ.

  3. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Shawn,

    It seems as though the sales started in the Garden of Eden and have been relentless since. Perhaps it is a little like X-files in that ‘The Truth is Out There’. I think you are getting at some of the truth as you bring scripture into the discussion but I wonder how our various interpretations of the scriptures play into how they are used to combat consumerism. It seems that some of the very same scriptures you and I might use to encourage people to live differently have also been co-opted by other Christians to proclaim a prosperity Gospel.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      I have noticed the same thing Dan. I love telling people that God is a God of blessing, but it always saddens me when I see preachers use that as some tool for bringing in the money. That is not the point of God’s blessing; the point is to make us more righteous. Good behavior is rewarded…not manipulated.

  4. GA says:

    “I believe part of the challenge of Christianity is living in a method of integration without conformity; it is not possible to live outside of the world, but it is possible for us to shine through its darkness.” I liked this statement Shawn. While reading, I kept thinking that the authors make it sounds like there is no hope. Either we are rebels or we are rebels against the rebels. And by the way, the truth out there is always aliens :-).

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Hope, faith and love…but of course the greatest of these is love. I am so grateful that God has assured us through hope that our labor is not in vain. Only Satan tries to convince us that it is a hopeless cause. He is wrong!

  5. mm Jason Turbeville says:

    Shawn,
    Great focus on scripture as your reaction to this book. I was annoyed, mostly with this book. There are some good things in it but as a progenitor of rebellion, Christ is the perfect example. Rebel against the world system rest in God. Thanks Brother.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *