Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

When Culture is King

“The chute opens, the bull draws blood, and the gift is accepted by God”
– The Killers

As the music industry continues to experience changes, I hope the album never goes away because when it is done right, it can be a beautiful work of art. Pressure Machine, the new album by The Killers, is an outstanding example of this. It is a concept album reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska about life in a small western town. Religion is a prominent theme in many songs, and the good is highlighted along with the bad.

Terrible Thing is the third song on the album. It is about a teenager wrestling with suicidal feelings. The problem is that he lives in a town where “culture is king,” and there is no compassion for him in this culture. We learn throughout the song that the culture that is king is wrapped in religion. The name of Christ is invoked, and sacrifices are made, but the cultural Christianity that is revered does not set people free and does not always resemble Jesus.

Culture is often used in churches in a negative way. The bad things in society are the fault of the culture. What is wrong with the world is the culture’s fault. The problem is that we cannot escape culture. We create culture. We are a part of the culture. We may not like one aspect of culture, but we have our culture with its baggage. Christianity gets co-opted and used as a cultural tool. It becomes good news for some and bad news for others rather than good news for all.

We live in a complicated world. We may wish it were not so, but this is our reality. There are voices and powers in our world who want to use Jesus selfishly for their benefit. There are voices and powers in our world who will use the name of Jesus to harm and abuse others. Some voices and powers will even use Jesus as a weapon against others. This ought not to be so, but it happens. What we must do is tune out the voices and reject the powers and spend time with Jesus ourselves. Read the gospels. Listen carefully to the stories about Jesus and the words he speaks. Meditate on them. Make sure our words and actions resemble Christ, and we are not using his name for other purposes. Share the gospel that is good news for all.

I am grateful for songs like Terrible Thing that are not easy to listen to but cause us to reflect on important issues. May I be compassionate like Christ. May I be gracious and merciful to everyone I meet. May I be aware of people around me who are hurting and need a friend. May I offer good news to people who need to hear it.

Click Terrible Thing to listen to the song on YouTube.

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