Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Nations, Cultures, Souls

The culture of a nation is like the soul of a person. Even as a human soul consists of the mind, the will, and the emotions, so the soul or culture of a nation can be seen through these three elements as well.

First, every nation possesses a collective mind. Every time an election is held, the mind of that nation is revealed. Just as individuals sometimes wrestle between two minds, so do nations. The mind, or mindset of a nation, is shaped primarily by two institutions: education and media. Through our institutions of learning and our media (television, film, literature, art, music), we develop a worldview. A worldview is a view of the world, and a view for the world. A third institution, the Church, also offers a worldview. But sadly, the influence of the Church in culture is minimized by its own ineffectiveness in presenting its message.

Second, building on the example above, when we choose our leaders, we are exercising our collective will. We are choosing what course, we as a people, will follow. Even nations who are ruled by kings, or dictators—those nations who do not have elected leaders—still have a collective will. But their choices are made by those in power without "the consent of the governed." In fact, nations which are not free, often struggle to be free, just like the individual soul who struggles to overcome a weakness or an addiction that governs or rules his choices. Sometimes, individuals need help getting free. And so, sometimes, do nations. In that regard, the collective will of the people could be said to be toward freedom, and that even though they have not yet achieved freedom, collectively they desire freedom. We are in the midst of witnessing this very scenario in play in the nation of Iraq, with our own nation, and a handful of others, helping to liberate those people.

Third, nations also possess a a collective mood or tone. The mood or tone is the cultural counterpart to the emotions of the individual soul. We witnessed our own nation's collective mood or tone immediately following the terrorist attacks of 9-11. Everywhere we looked, flags were flying. Patriotism ran high. Today, three years after the fact, we observe again the collective mood or tone of our nation as we watch the media. The California recall race, and the worst of the worst in politics, has come into view. Many other examples could be given to help take the "pulse of the nation" as is often said.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Viewing: About Schmidt

Have you seen About Schmidt starring Jack Nicholson? He was exceptional. The story centered around a recently retired man whose life seemed meaningless and devoid of purpose. Nicholson should win an Academy Award for his performance. Though nihilistic throughout, the film concluded with a slight, hopeful, redemptive uptick.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The 2021 Portal

Had my usual Friday lunch with John today. We discussed the thinklings webpage geared toward giving which we have tentatively titled thisgraceofgiving.org. Once we had finished brainstorming, we turned our discussion to the url for thinklings. Another group of Christian guys out of Texas and Tennessee have sadly already secured thinklings.org, thinklings.com, and thinklings.net. So we had to come up with something new, something unique. We talked about several ideas, listing them as we went:
  • asoundmind.org
  • beyetransformed.org
  • thinklingsquest.org
  • romans121.org (Romans 12:1) or romans12-1.org
  • thinklings21.org (21st century)

At this point in our conversation, John and I began to discuss our (thinklings') struggle (quest?) to transcend our 20th century Christian mindsets and learn how to relate with and communicate to the postmoderns of our day. We concluded that we are 20th century Christians living in a 21st century world.

John's mind clicked and whirred as it often does in these magical moments. After years of brainstorming with this man, I've learned to recognize the signs. Something was coming. It can be foreseen in the slight cocking of his head, the mysterious look of wonderment in his eyes, the subtle rise in his eyebrows. It is part childlike, and part genius.

"How about 2021.com?" he quipped.

"Yes. I like it," I replied, delighted at the inspiration. And of course I instantly knew his meaning.

We sit today in the flow of a transcultural moment in time, a transgenenerational shifting of many things. We have not only transitioned from one century into the next, we are leaving the modern world and entering into a post-modern one. I will spare you the rambling details because you all know what I mean. We have discussed it many times.

Even as the "4040 window" is a geographic region of the planet, what John and I have now dubbed the "2021 portal" is a passageway, a door between two eras, two epochs really. And we are sitting in the open gateway, like the portal in Stargate SG-1 which instantly transports travelers across vastly separated points in space. We thinklings, like all of our generation, have our feet in both worlds.

Sadly, upon checking, "2021.com" is already taken. So, once again our brilliance in inspiration has been usurped, leaving us humbled once more (he said, tongue in cheek).

Now we have come to these two:

  • thinklings2021.com