Will History Repeat Itself?

July 1, 2004

I am currently reading Harvey Cox’s “Religion in the Secular City”. In the book he quotes German Jewish writer Walter Benjamin who wrote and essay published in 1936 called the “Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”…As Mr. Cox point’s out the article is about art…but it can apply to religion also.

Benjamin states…”the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition”…then adds that this leads to, “the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage.” Benjamin, called this the “decay of the aura”.

When an artist is attempting to copy a master’s painting, the one copying may get the technique of the original down to the style of the brush strokes…but it still does not capture the essence or “aura” of the original…in loses the original artists intent and purity.

Bill H. and Rick W. are the genuine authentic originals…but something is lost when we copy…even worse when we copy a copy…the authenticity is lost.

I see nothing wrong with many of the teachers out there today…Rick states the essence of worship as “being a living sacrifice” and “worship” is not just music on Sunday morning.

The problem is that these truths are undermined and missed when put in the context of not “purpose driven life” but the copy that becomes the “program driven life”. The truth is there…under the surface, just buried…Rick would be the first to say it is not programs but Jesus! But, that is the point…are we really listening? Just because Dan Kimball’s “gathering” works for him do we copy it and make it work say here where I live in Billings MT….no. because I am in a different culture…different people and different needs…Billings is not a mecca for run aways nor entrenched in subcultures inside subcultures. Nor does Santa Cruz have as large of a Native American culture as Montana. ( I am not saying Billings does not have the subcultures inside subcultures,just that in Santa Cruz these are more out in the open…Billings would not get the “Vagina Dialogs”…)

I have lived in Monterey and visited Santa Cruz many times by the way…

The challenge is not to set out a model that all can copy but to seek out your communities needs and culture and dynamics…and to stay pure in that with the message of Jesus Christ. If we do that, we can be a bit closer not to become like “modern” or “fundamentalist” but will be in each “Gathering” authentic.



%d bloggers like this: