Books on Culture
NO EARTHLY GOOD?
The Christian in Culture
"Doing “earthly good” is not the standard by which the Christian should live. It is a standard thrust upon us by non-Christians who know how to make us feel guilty. We are called to glorify God and so doing we will be some earthly good - but not necessarily in a way that a non- Christian can understand or even admire."
170 pages, Paperback, Author: Abigail J. Fox
This book is about conformity. When Christianity was set aside by the once-Christian West, people were granted apparent freedom to do whatever they want. But what do they do? They conform to the status quo. People aspire to look like their idols and be as rich as their heroes, as though there is nothing more to life. The fashion changes and people change with it. They learn political correctness, moral relativism and all the other new "rules" of life from books, film, music, art, magazines and tv.
The Christian response has been to try to harness the "power" of such media for good. This has resulted in a warped idea of Christian art, that insists on demonstrating its religiosity and turns film into a tool for conversion. It is merely a Christian version of the status quo. Consequently, some Christians have rejected the arts and retreated from culture, as though art is too corrupting, too infectious and only for the wicked. And they return, with a sigh, to J. S. Bach.
This book is also about non-conformity. It is about how the Christian can obey the words of the Apostle Paul and not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of the mind. It is not about changing culture. It is about living to the glory of God in a personal and public sphere: how to love your neighbour and how to love your enemy. When Christians turn to God and seek his approval, no matter what people think (Christian or non-Christian) they can be exposed to all kinds of cultural expressions without harm. The Christian can read without infection, listen without corruption and even watch a film that is rated above Disney-level. Meanwhile, the Christian artist is freed from the incredible guilt of modern culture. The Christian musician is not responsible to provide a sanctuary from sin. The Christian film-maker is not obliged to present a Pollyanna view of the world. The Christian author can write on a myriad of subjects. They can all glorify God.
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THE LAND OF THE LIVING
A Collection of Poems
Look kindly on thy servant,
Master For thy precious mercy’s sake,
Dust and ashes cannot answer
Or redemption undertake.
138 pages, Paperback, Author: Abigail J. Fox
"The Land of the Living" is structured in six parts. It begins with the bold simplicity of the Christian faith, where only the concerns of honouring God are before the eyes of the poet. It moves softly into the realm of pain and trouble - where life appears to interfere with the poet's ideas and best intentions. And from this emerges a more honest expression of faith, failing and weak and yet safe.
The climax of the book is found in the largest poem "Artist Tree" in which the poet shares her own journey of exploration through the interplay of faith, art and duty. The book closes on gentler ground - faith in the little things, the humour of life. It needs less stating, less emphasis and yet it is no less real. The tapestry of words is woven in the English countryside, which holds a beauty and charm all of its own.
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