Culture (this got long fast, sorry)

superorganic... a thing, or a no-thing, of immeasurable integration with any number of people sharing or not sharing it... Tanner categorizes Durkheim as a functionalist who viewed culture as a complex whole made of many parts, but would criticize him as having a "high-culture" view of culture. She would define 'high-culture' in terms of 'cultural evolution' or the idea that there is a "superorganic", capital-c Culture (to maintain our language here) that all other cultures are evolving towards in different ways. She hasn't been explicit (yet) but I sense from the first 50 pages that she errs toward postmodernism in saying that this is ethnocentric and misleading. I think she would and does make clear though, how she thinks while there may not be a universal culture, the notion THAT people are cultural is a universal - in her mind, the primary universal. What's more, I think she speaks what a major portion of our society also believes... I resonate with this as a foundation for how my brother and his wife may very well view the world. What fascinates me about the terms that you used, is that I resonate with them on a different level than "culture". To me, they satisify the overarching way I think theologically of our being made in God's image and, through grace, "coded for" righteousness. I think all people are looking for righteousness and cultures play a huge role in expressing the collective understanding of that. To me, righteousness seems "superorganic" because it is the overarching desire of God for us and it is the latent universal that all people seek (erringly and ususally in and of ourselves). As you said, shared, but not explored... There is a prof here at Trinity whose name is Duane Elmer. He wrote a book called "Cross-Cultural Connections" that is a great teaching tool. (Full of diagrams, which I love, and with very down to earth, populist explanations). But he says that with age as a Christian, he has grown away from a model of cultural interactions and a thinking about Truth which started as "50% Right and 50% Wrong" with nothing in between. As he's grown, he began to allow a 10% middle ground to develop of "Different". Now that he's in his 50's or 60's, he has gotten so that he interacts with cultures (and the world) as if "15% is Right, 70% is Differences, and 15% is Wrong". I think he would say part of the task of the Christian is to discern cultural truth and God's Truth. But what is clear with Duane Elmer (and with my thinking about righteousness) is that culture is not the primary universal. If it was the primary universal, then all other concepts become filtered through it. As opposed to how I've been thinking Elmer seems to talk in terms of Truth, invoking a concept that is somewhat static. I think of righteousness as a more dynamic concept, (important in a changing landscape with a growing sense of "differences") of Biblical theology now for assessing culture than "truth". In the Old Testament, God defined righteousness for us. He gave us specific laws which portrayed His character in principle form and explained His desires. But Israel was how He bestowed His promises to the world in anticipation of Christ. Now that Christ has come, He is our Righteousness and we are not bound to the same 'structure' of righteousness that God portrayed in Israel, though the 'substance' of it is still present, through special and common grace toward right standing with God in Christ. So we are given a greater responsibility in knowing Christ to beg of Him what is righteous in our circumstances. Those circumstances are different all over the place, but God's desire for righteousness is not, and how we answer the question of what righteousness looks like in those circumstances will be seen in our sense of place as partially understood in 'culture'. Whoa, I don't know why I just vomited that entire journalistic sermon, but I'd love to hear us pick that apart.


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