Stealing Cultural Souls

At the recent Postmodern Youth Ministry Conference I attended I was introduced to a young lady from India. She is here in the US completing her Doctorate of Ministries studies at Nazarene Theological Seminary and is focusing her work on youth ministry.

watching tvI was fortunate to spend some time talking with her about her culture in India. I asked her about the colonialization of her culture growing up. I was interested in this based on several recent conversations (which I posted on) about post-colonialism. She indicated that starting with her grandfather’s generation there was this total switch in culture and values from her native Indian culture to the western culture complete with our popular music and tv shows. She told me, “I don’t know any of my own countries cultural songs. Instead I grew up listening to heavy metal – Metallica, Def Leppard, Poison, etc. – I know all the words to those songs.”

I asked her if this “knowledge” of our culture had helped her in her transition to living in the States. She replied, “No. Because this is not my culture. There are many things different here. But, I don’t have a culture that is mine specifically back home either. None of the people my age do. We are just without a culture and in many ways without a home.”

This makes me ask two main questions:

1) What is this post-colonial/flat world really going to look like? How are people going to find and keep some identity of their own? How much harm have we done to the world not just in our economic and systemic colonialization, but in our pop culture, consumeristic coloniazation of them as well?

2) What are those of us in the emerging church doing to keep the cultural distinctives of the Christian faith from fading away? I believe in many ways the emerging church is being the best curator of those distinctives, but I want to know specific practices people are using to do so.

3) YES, I LIED… there are three not two… Does this loss of historic culture really matter if we are making a new culture? What is it that this new Indian friend is missing?

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