The Good City & The Alternate City

Here is the book review I wrote for Books & Culture. It's a review of two books: Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism and the Sacred by Philip Bess and An Architecture of Immanence: Architecture for Worship and Ministry Today by Mark Torgerson. It goes without saying that I learned a good deal about two subjects that lie beyond the range of my usual reading habits: urban design and architecture.

Here is an article that came out in the Austin American Statesman on the Saturday after the Transforming Culture Symposium.

I honestly don't know what to do with this, not so much critically but pastorally and relationally. See here a news bit about the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. They've managed to raise the biggest first prize money for a film festival in the world: $101,000. I know how I'd respond theologically to the following statement by the director:

Christians who think Hollywood is softening toward their views should not be swayed by corporate attempts to “Christianize” movies, Phillips warned, citing the 2005 release of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and upcoming Prince Caspian – both based on books in the Chronicles of Narnia series written by C.S. Lewis.

“Prince Caspian and The Dawn Treader (the third book/movie in the series) are becoming increasingly darker, more 21st Century teen rebellion and the occult,” Phillips said, explaining that the mission and maxim of the SAICFF is that “every frame be captive to being obedient to Christ.”

But I'm not so clear what my pastoral responsibility is to my brother down the road. Do I ignore? Do I confront? Do I say, I'll see you on the other side of the veil? At what point do you let a brother do his own thing and at what point do you say, Brother, what you're doing is wrong--theologically, aesthetically, missionally, hermeneutically, pastorally? Is he my neighbor? He is. He's nearby geographically. He's nearby missionally: his "product" is art and culture. But what's my responsibility to my neighbor?

Maybe the answer is simple. Maybe I pray and if the Spirit says yea or nay, I do accordingly. Or maybe I keep from replying to everything that's out there at the risk of distracting myself and not staying focused or faithful to my calling here in Austin, and that's that.

But to keep things interesting and to not fall into cowardly brotherly love, I'll say that Doug Phillips' writing about horror movies is naive, encumbered by sloppy research, and plagued by highly emotional over-statement. Here was my attempt to make sense of horror movies. Let the neighborly parley go wherever it may.

(PHOTO: The first pic that came up on the world wide web of googledom when I typed in New Jerusalem. I poked around and found the painting described as a dispensational premillenialist vision of the future.)


"The enemy to this vision is Suburban Sprawl. Call it the Anti-Urban Experience. Bess reckons it a manifestation of fallen modernity: a functionally secular, therapeutic, individualist, technologically enamored vision driven by an oppressive demand for novelty and the 'bottom line.'"

Never thought of the "bottom line" being part of sprawl, but I can see that in a sense. Rants against both sprawl and the corporate push for the next cent of profit end up in my blog regularly, but I can't ever remember them occurring together . . .
micah said…
you know, i'm kinda hoping you will say something. he needs to hear (or at least read another article on the subject by an evangelical... say, maybe an arts pastor). my 2 cents.
you could always ask Barbara Nicolosi to give him a call...
imbrecation said…
Some Christians see scifi the same way, including Doug I expect. I'm not into horror but I've read a lot of scifi and the parallel seems obvious. I would agree that his writing shows little understanding of the genre or the artist.

What a shame that so much money is available for bad theology.
Well said, KVD.

Sometimes people don't want to hear other views. Sometimes they can't, they've so committed everything to their viewpoint. There's no flexibility--even mental. It's a presupposition and that's that.

Knowing Barbara N. somewhat, I think she might just make faces and choking noises and be done with it. She's come across this kind of thinking so much over the years she has no time for it any more. I don't think she'd take it seriously. She'd probably say it was a lot mental farting around.

But then again, that's just a guess.

Popular Posts