|Main Street America - circa 1918|
Old time religion was about a cohesive social unit. It was not particularly political. The rural past of America and going back to the middle ages centered around the local church building. Families were neighbors and also members of the community church.
The local town square, if the town was big enough for such a thing, was on the secular end of the same avenue facing the local church. Sacred or secular decisions for the community got discussed, a consensus found and decided on Main Street USA.
It is the main street in the Disney theme parks that harkens back to the idealized late nineteenth century era and up until WWI American world. Here, the separation of church and state, more or less worked as a blueprint for the stabilization of the community and the nation. We all have a fixed idea in memory of an ideal setting from youth. Walt obviously had his too.
What does the global town square (G.T.S.) look and feel like? It is as varied and diverse as the Internet is right now. What it stabilizes into, is recognized as, gels into universal perception as, will slowly happen in the next decade or two or three. It will depend on the flow of culture and history in that as yet unpainted future.
The global culture idea is at this moment, and in my opinion, about bogus “global village” concepts, decades old, that put ideas out on the airwaves and onto the Internet. That old time touch me, look me in the eyes, and trade me your horse, town square sense of cohesion is missing or has gaps in it.
Before we in America get to the future, we should more fully understand who we are, consider where we have been and where we are going. We need consensus. We also in many ways need compromise. If we do not know or try to understand our neighbors locally or globally, then we fail as Christians and we fail our community as well.
“We” is the important part of the preceding statement. Nationality may disappear in the next decades in some corners of the globe but geography and local-ness will not.
We either as a group become more local and or more universal. Whatever factor dominates our future thinking needs a balanced approach to dealing with reality. If the local culture is important, then the universal global culture has to be recognized and respected but not necessarily served blindly.
The globalists have to recognize and respect local customs – period! Culture in the global age has to be a two way street.
I may sound more secular than cultural with my Christianity here but look at the world of Jesus. You had the Romans and Herod and the Temple Priests and their politico crony parties. You had the dispossessed in the new Romanization of the Holy Land. It was a global situation and after the time of Jesus, it failed. It failed miserably.
Jesus coped with and inspired a local flock that included all levels of that local and global community. The words, teachings and message of Jesus are now as important as ever. I believe that he among the many facets of his unique character and mission – I believe that he truly was one of the first to act locally and think globally. Turn your cheek, go the extra distance, love you neighbor (even if he is a Roman).
Communication and consensus in local matters and looking over your shoulder at that global thing coming at us is something I as a cultural Christian give consideration to everyday. I hope we all, of many belief systems, are doing the same.
- mm 17/06/08