Wednesday morning on the Laura Ingram Show, Laura interviewed Melanie Phillips, the new author of a book entitled Londonistan. Londonistan is a book detailing the British attitude toward the war on terror and the sociological factors that have put
There are a variety of interesting dimensions to this problem. Here in the
It is also interesting to me because for most of my life I have been an ardent Anglophile. I have a deep love for English culture and English history. This is not to say that
From a Christian standpoint, the whole trick is to take our lives, our society, our communities, and our institutions and bring them into submission to Christ. The end result should be a pervasively Christian culture. Christians have never done this perfectly. All of the cultures of predominantly Christian countries have been wanting in one way or another due to human sinfulness. But many of the wonderful things about cultures in predominantly Christian countries have come from Christianity and its foundational effect on those cultures. And it also should be recognized that for a culture to be transformed by its Christian beliefs takes time. After the Germanic tribesman began to accept Christianity, it still took hundreds of years for them to give up their violence, looting and pillaging. The desire of those with Norse blood to “go Viking” and the desire of Celts for interminable clan feuding died hard and took a lot of time to extinguish in the light of the cross. And sometimes the adopted ideals of
There are some people who believe that having a “Christian culture” is even inherently impossible. They see culture as identical to “the world” as discussed in scripture. They could never bring themselves to believe that a majority of influential people in a society were actually significantly committed to Christ. While this may be rare, I do not believe that a “Christian culture” is impossible. Christianity is at times more successful and pervasive than many people want to think, even though it does not result in the perfection of society due to inherent human sinfulness. And, there is a difference between the human world system and a predominantly Christian culture – though such a culture is still not the
I think it is possible to justifiably “love” cultures in the sense of admire, enjoy and in some ways copy, despite imperfections. That love, like all love, should motivate us to want to change and improve the culture rather than merely accepting it as is. C.S. Lewis talks about this transformative aspect of love in his book The Four Loves. It may not be wrong to love (in the above sense) British culture or Scottish culture or American culture while at the same time recognizing that there have been some historical misdeeds and some sinful aspects to those cultures since all human cultures involve sinful human beings and their practices. We seek to bring culture to the feet of Christ. Loving so in this way may not be “loving the world” as condemned in the Bible.
Another interesting problem of the love/hate relationship of culture is the difficulty that today some of the things people are criticizing about culture are the very aspects of culture that were in fact correct. For a culture to be opposed to sexual immorality is currently thought to be in some way inappropriate. But it is appropriate for us to discourage sexual immorality as a society.
I hope that both
In the end, I really hope that people in England can continue to love and cherish the writings of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Milton, Shakespeare, Spencer and Wordsworth, the speeches of Winston Churchill, the music of Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Thomas Tallis, the architecture of the Middle Ages, the Tutor period and Christopher Wren, to love the black umbrella and the stiff upper lip, the academic worlds of Oxford and Cambridge, the little rivers of the Cotswolds, the open vistas of the lake country, the moors of Cornwall, the waterways of Norfolk and the green fields of Kent; and even the political kingdom that through force of arms and strength of will and answered prayer brought the stop to the expansion of the Spanish empire and its inquisition, the demagoguery of Napoleon, the 19th century Islamo-Fascism of the Mahdi of Sudan, the mechanistic will of the Kaiser, the unspeakable evil of Nazism, and now the depredations of the tyrant Saddam Hussein. In some of these wars