Category Archives: Culture

A new baby, a new direction for ‘Counter Culture’, and a desire for simplicity

penobscot-river-frozen-sunrise

My second son was born last week. What a wonderful blessing. However, with such a life change comes a time to re-evaluate priorities and goals. So often we get caught up in the day-to-day that we forget what direction we’re even going in life.

It is because of this reflective attitude that I’ve decided to change directions in what I write about here on Counter Culture. I’ve already updated the header graphic and the About page, so you probably have an idea of the direction I will be going.

Selfishness, pride, and the Richard Sherman in all of us

Photo: USA Today

First, let’s make something clear: Richard Sherman is not a thug (ie., ‘a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer’).

By now, even if you’re a nominal sports fan, you’ve probably seen the interview heard ’round the world in which Richard Sherman, who is a defensive back for the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks, proclaimed himself ‘the best corner in the game’ (which is true), calling San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree a ‘sorry receiver.’ You can see the short interview below.

Hunger Games ‘catching fire’ from some, but redemption shines amid human depravity, cultural excess

hunger-games-catching-fire-splash

This past weekend my wife and I had a toddler-free evening out for my birthday, and we checked out ‘Catching Fire’, the latest installment in the Hunger Games movies. While some Christians may choose to pass on viewing this saga, I’m prepared to say that with the right perspective it should be required viewing for everyone that is a young adult or older.

Undoubtedly, viewing the Hunger Games movies is not for the faint of heart or young child. Furthermore, teens and adults alike must be mature enough to separate reality from the story portrayed, and parents should take an active role in explaining ‘who the real enemy is’ in parsing out the good from the evil.

Living vicariously through Pope Francis, Time Magazine Person of the Year

The Humble Pope?

Whether Pope Francis is kissing a disfigured man with boils, washing the feet of a young muslim woman, driving his own car while refusing to live in the papal apartment, or simply denouncing excessive consumerism in typical ‘counter culture’ fashion, he has been doing some noteworthy things since assuming the papacy earlier this year. Even from an evangelical perspective, there are a lot of positive aspects to be gleaned from the change in tone at The Vatican.

However, as cheerleaders of The Pope have seemingly come out of the woodwork this year, it has not been to share how Jesus is working in their lives or how their personal Christian walk is going. On the contrary, most often it has been to rave about all the great things Pope Francis is doing.

Seriously, why Santa? Re-thinking the purpose of this jolly old Christmas ‘fairy tale’

santa-a-christmas-story

Seriously, why Santa? I concede it’s all probably harmless, and “all in good fun” — but why? Wouldn’t kids be more grateful if they knew from day one their gifts came mommy, daddy, grammy, grandpa, or better yet — are blessings from God? Why base their formative years on a fairy tale? Because “everyone else is doing it” and you don’t want your kid to be left out? Is that really a good enough reason? These are genuine questions I’m asking as a new parent who hasn’t had to deal with it yet, and I’m honestly looking for feedback from parents.

The reason I hear the most is that “doing Santa” is a family tradition with many wonderful childhood memories, and parent’s want to re-live these memories with their own children. I don’t have a problem with that, and I respect how people choose to celebrate the Christmas season with their families. The purpose of this blog, however, is to think ‘counter culturally.’ And with that goal in mind, I try to step back and simply evaluate why our culture is so set on carrying on the ruse of jolly old St. Nick with kids, some well into their school-age years.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Puritans

thanksgiving-cornucopia

In my previous blog post I shared a sentiment that there’s nothing inherently bad about Black Friday. And I stand by my conclusions for families that bond over shopping experiences, and are financially responsible in finding the best deals for which they can use to bless their loved ones with holiday gifts. However, for those of us who are grateful we don’t have to leave the comfort of our homes on Thanksgiving and bargain hunt until tomorrow, it’s the Puritans to which we should be thankful.

Maine is one of just 3 states that have preserved Thanksgiving Day from the onslaught of Black Friday consumerism. It’s no coincidence that the other 2 states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, are both also New England states. “Why”, you ask? Because the reason major retail and grocery stores remain closed on Thanksgiving is a remnant from the New England-based Puritan-inspired “Blue Laws”.

Black Friday is no more anti-family than conflict at the Thanksgiving table

Black-Friday-2013

There’s nothing inherently bad about Black Friday, and now large national retailers have decided to open on Thanksgiving. However, Maine is one of just 3 states that have state laws in place that say “no so fast” to this intrusion on the sanctity of post-turkey, supposedly family-strengthening activities such as afternoon napping and uninterrupted football watching.

As if the irony wasn’t already bad enough that we had to wait until the next day to forget everything we were thankful for, and immediately run out to worship at the altar of “spend now, worry about paying later”. Now in 47 states the turkey isn’t even cold before we can hit the stores and buy things we don’t even want for people we don’t really like.

However, I’m not anti-Black Friday…

Mumford and other Millennials: Don’t call me Christian. Why?

Marcus Mumford

I’m a tad late on the uptake of this one, but the following quote was uttered by Marcus Mumford- the 26-year-old lead singer of Mumford & Sons- in the April edition of Rolling Stone:

“I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage. So, no, I wouldn’t call myself a Christian. I think the word just conjures up all these religious images that I don’t really like. I have my personal views about the person of Jesus and who he was. … I’ve kind of separated myself from the culture of Christianity.”

As a blogger who attempts to write about how Christianity can and should relate to culture, his final phrase caught my eye. Is it Jesus [and His claims] that Marcus has a problem with, or is his issue with what he perceives as the “culture of Christianity”?

In reply to an atheist mother’s complaints about God

faith-reason

Recently I was perusing CNN.com when a certain article, linked only about half way down the front page, caught my eye. The article was a community-submitted blog post called “Why I Raise My Children Without God”, and as someone who blogs about Christian perspectives I could not resist reading this mother’s take on things. I must admit I immediately felt an inner grieving of the Holy Spirit for her and almost clicked away after the first paragraph. However, I forged ahead and read through the whole article wincing with every sentence.

After finishing the article I sat in utter disbelief of this mother’s utter disbelief, and pondered what to do next. Should I just put it out of my mind and let her charges against God go unanswered, joining the large chorus of atheism becoming ever more prevalent in our fallen society?

Then I read it again…