Author Topic: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?  (Read 4961 times)

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45569
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2012, 11:06:59 AM »
My children, and my students, have their own absolutes -- including (it's an old cliche, but apt nonetheless) the absolute that there are no absolutes.  They certainly hold firmly to a strict set of norms, albeit norms that allow for exceptions under specified conditions.  They appear to have learned from TV, the internet and a variety of communication technologies that life is closely regulated by established patterns and operating systems to which they must be accommodated.  My students don't seem to deal with things any more creatively or solutionally than those of us who grew up in the 1960s -- in fact, it seems much the reverse.


A speaker I heard compared differences between the "rules" of the board games he grew up with and the "rules" of the video games his grandchildren play. The "rules" of board games are printed out; they are read before starting the game; they never change. Video games have no printed "rules"; the "rules" are learned as one plays the game -- trial and error; the "rules" often change from one level to the next. Thus talking about "rules" or "absolutes" that are set in stone is foreign to the thinking of the video-game generation. 
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James Gustafson

  • Guest
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #46 on: May 20, 2012, 12:59:56 PM »
My children, and my students, have their own absolutes -- including (it's an old cliche, but apt nonetheless) the absolute that there are no absolutes.  They certainly hold firmly to a strict set of norms, albeit norms that allow for exceptions under specified conditions.  They appear to have learned from TV, the internet and a variety of communication technologies that life is closely regulated by established patterns and operating systems to which they must be accommodated.  My students don't seem to deal with things any more creatively or solutionally than those of us who grew up in the 1960s -- in fact, it seems much the reverse.


A speaker I heard compared differences between the "rules" of the board games he grew up with and the "rules" of the video games his grandchildren play. The "rules" of board games are printed out; they are read before starting the game; they never change. Video games have no printed "rules"; the "rules" are learned as one plays the game -- trial and error; the "rules" often change from one level to the next. Thus talking about "rules" or "absolutes" that are set in stone is foreign to the thinking of the video-game generation.

The speaker was wrong then.  Video games are nothing but rules, rules and absolutes.  You do it the 'right' way, or you probably 'die' and have to respawn or start over.  In the old fashioned board game rules, the players could 'agree' to change the rules, but not in video games, they tell you what rules exist and what rules are open to modification, much harsher than the old written rule book.  The better and more popular games have entire books written about how to complete them, because many games are too complex to even think about competing in without knowing the rules and the best ways to implement .  Sometimes there are hidden rules and secret rules but there are always rules that everyone must obey.  Set in stone, rock solid rules, you don't 'win' if you don't follow the rules of how that is accomplished.  Those that try to break the rules are called hackers, cheaters, and they are not given credit for their accomplishments.

George Erdner

  • Guest
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #47 on: May 20, 2012, 01:36:25 PM »
What implications does this have for Lutheran churches:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/293457/evangelicals-collapsing-cultural-influence-david-french

It seems the author of that article cannot (or does not) differentiate between the influence of the actions of individual members of any particular church and the influence of the actions of churches working as institutions. Perhaps that why discussions such as this tend to degenerate into discussions of liberal versus conservative political philosophy, or attempts to make some observations on the nature of government and the relationship between government and the governed to pretty much support any position on the liberal to conservative spectrum.
 
If there is a real collapse of the influence of the self-styled "Evangelicals", it is not so much because of a lack of charismatic leadership. It is a lack of true commitment and dedication of the adherents of that faith tradition to actually take what their church teaches seriously and practice it in their lives, and thereby set an example. And, if Lutherans want to avoid being similarly ineffective, we should continue to leave it to the senior leadership of our denominations to do all of the heavy lifting and attempt to influence the government, instead of striving to make disciples of all Lutheran church members.
 
 

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45569
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #48 on: May 20, 2012, 05:41:30 PM »
My children, and my students, have their own absolutes -- including (it's an old cliche, but apt nonetheless) the absolute that there are no absolutes.  They certainly hold firmly to a strict set of norms, albeit norms that allow for exceptions under specified conditions.  They appear to have learned from TV, the internet and a variety of communication technologies that life is closely regulated by established patterns and operating systems to which they must be accommodated.  My students don't seem to deal with things any more creatively or solutionally than those of us who grew up in the 1960s -- in fact, it seems much the reverse.


A speaker I heard compared differences between the "rules" of the board games he grew up with and the "rules" of the video games his grandchildren play. The "rules" of board games are printed out; they are read before starting the game; they never change. Video games have no printed "rules"; the "rules" are learned as one plays the game -- trial and error; the "rules" often change from one level to the next. Thus talking about "rules" or "absolutes" that are set in stone is foreign to the thinking of the video-game generation.

The speaker was wrong then.  Video games are nothing but rules, rules and absolutes.  You do it the 'right' way, or you probably 'die' and have to respawn or start over.  In the old fashioned board game rules, the players could 'agree' to change the rules, but not in video games, they tell you what rules exist and what rules are open to modification, much harsher than the old written rule book.  The better and more popular games have entire books written about how to complete them, because many games are too complex to even think about competing in without knowing the rules and the best ways to implement .  Sometimes there are hidden rules and secret rules but there are always rules that everyone must obey.  Set in stone, rock solid rules, you don't 'win' if you don't follow the rules of how that is accomplished.  Those that try to break the rules are called hackers, cheaters, and they are not given credit for their accomplishments.


In video games, they usually don't tell you what the rules are. You learn them by trial and error. While the rules are constant and unchanging for one level; they can change one's you've mastered that level and moved to the next. That is, the rules may not remain constant (absolute) throughout every level of the game.


Our sons often went to the internet and found codes by which they could change the rules, e.g., a code that would give them unlimited weapons.


The speakers illustration was about getting new games. When he would get a new board game, the first thing was to read through the rules to learn how to properly play the game. When his grandchildren get a video game; there are no rules to read. They plop it in the machine and just start playing and learn the rules as they play.


He believes that this difference is quite significant when we talk about rules like the Ten Commandments. A written set of rules that you are supposed to learn before playing a game is foreign to the video-game generation.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James Gustafson

  • Guest
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #49 on: May 20, 2012, 07:08:27 PM »
My children, and my students, have their own absolutes -- including (it's an old cliche, but apt nonetheless) the absolute that there are no absolutes.  They certainly hold firmly to a strict set of norms, albeit norms that allow for exceptions under specified conditions.  They appear to have learned from TV, the internet and a variety of communication technologies that life is closely regulated by established patterns and operating systems to which they must be accommodated.  My students don't seem to deal with things any more creatively or solutionally than those of us who grew up in the 1960s -- in fact, it seems much the reverse.


A speaker I heard compared differences between the "rules" of the board games he grew up with and the "rules" of the video games his grandchildren play. The "rules" of board games are printed out; they are read before starting the game; they never change. Video games have no printed "rules"; the "rules" are learned as one plays the game -- trial and error; the "rules" often change from one level to the next. Thus talking about "rules" or "absolutes" that are set in stone is foreign to the thinking of the video-game generation.

The speaker was wrong then.  Video games are nothing but rules, rules and absolutes.  You do it the 'right' way, or you probably 'die' and have to respawn or start over.  In the old fashioned board game rules, the players could 'agree' to change the rules, but not in video games, they tell you what rules exist and what rules are open to modification, much harsher than the old written rule book.  The better and more popular games have entire books written about how to complete them, because many games are too complex to even think about competing in without knowing the rules and the best ways to implement .  Sometimes there are hidden rules and secret rules but there are always rules that everyone must obey.  Set in stone, rock solid rules, you don't 'win' if you don't follow the rules of how that is accomplished.  Those that try to break the rules are called hackers, cheaters, and they are not given credit for their accomplishments.


In video games, they usually don't tell you what the rules are. You learn them by trial and error. While the rules are constant and unchanging for one level; they can change one's you've mastered that level and moved to the next. That is, the rules may not remain constant (absolute) throughout every level of the game.


Our sons often went to the internet and found codes by which they could change the rules, e.g., a code that would give them unlimited weapons.


The speakers illustration was about getting new games. When he would get a new board game, the first thing was to read through the rules to learn how to properly play the game. When his grandchildren get a video game; there are no rules to read. They plop it in the machine and just start playing and learn the rules as they play.


He believes that this difference is quite significant when we talk about rules like the Ten Commandments. A written set of rules that you are supposed to learn before playing a game is foreign to the video-game generation.

Repeating it doesn't make it right.  He's still wrong.  The only way a person can think that the video games generation doesn't understand rules is to not be of the video-game generation.  When you say things like, they plug it in and start playing, this is true, because they are already familiar with the rules of that game type, but when they are wrong or not familiar with the game type, they immediately go to the rules to find our 'how' that game works.  The computer aspect forces rules on every game and solidifies the game universe into a locked set of parameters, the only options are those built into the game by the game designer.  When familiar with how to play such games, then people feel comfortable to plop it in and start playing, and game companies work very hard to make sure that the majority of game players will instinctively know how the rules of their  game will work because otherwise they won't bother to learn a whole new subset of rules of 'how' to do things.  For example, all board games with dice assume you already know how to roll a die, that after rolling the die the number on the top is the number you rolled.  They don't have to tell you that, they assume you know it.  If a four sided die used though, then it needs instructions, that now, the bottom number is the number the die rolled because the top is a point. 

Computer games are all rules, you can't break or modify the rules and the rules of achieving success are explicitly laid out.  Pick up a the most popular game this week, Diablo 3, there are rules upon rules, books of rules that explain how to move, how to change outfits and weapons and what does what to what.  Types and parameters, the rule book is so big it isn't even included in the $60 game purchase, you have to pay a extra real book price of $16 for that.  Video games have rules, lots and lots of rules, just because most video game players know how to play doesn't mean they don't know the rules, it means they already learned the fundamental rules, but if they come across a new puzzle where they get stuck, they will need the rules to progress and they will likely have to pay extra to get those rules.

I can play chess or checkers without looking up the rules, I can play a computer generated Real Times Strategy (RTS) game without looking up the rules too, but chess has real rules to it about how a knight moves differently than a rook, and taking the king is the objective and more than equally true the RTS game has compoundedly more rules about how to move pieces and what they do and how that is altered depending on various scenarios and outcomes that may occur in the game, and what winning consists of.  If I don't know how to play chess properly, I can play improperly and make something up and just move the pieces around.  If I don't know the rules of the RTS game, I might not even be able to turn it on or begin playing it without looking up the rules.  To play well, I might need to take a gaming strategy or Game Theory course at the local college (and no, that's not a joke, e.g., Starcraft courses have been offered at various colleges and universities for many years now, both in America and abroad)  That wouldn't be necessary if they didn't have rules. http://www.academicearth.org/courses/starcraft-theory-and-strategy
« Last Edit: May 20, 2012, 07:24:20 PM by James Gustafson »

J. Thomas Shelley

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4421
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #50 on: May 20, 2012, 07:36:39 PM »
In the mid 1970's most states revised their motor vehicle laws to permit a right turn on at a read signal light (after stop).

I am increasingly convinced that this became one of the watershed moments in the devolution to moral relativism, even though few appreciate its significance.

Prior to that change there was a moral absolute:  Stop and remain stopped at a red light.  No exceptions.

On the road, this has led to "stop" signs be treated as "yield" signs and speed limits being regarded as mere suggestions, particularly among those licensed subsequent to the changed code who have never known the previous absolute.

Off the road, similar consequences but different behaviors.
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13819
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #51 on: May 20, 2012, 07:48:08 PM »
And to think of all the time I wasted reading heavy tomes of theology and studying with professors to learn theology when what I should have been doing is playing video games to learn how God structures Christian theology and the Christian life.  Too bad I spent so much time studying what my theological forefathers who were ignorant of modern insights and too bound to their more primitive (relatively speaking) culture to appreciate what our contemporaries learn from our modern and up to date culture.   ;D
 
Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 45569
  • ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #52 on: May 21, 2012, 02:14:13 AM »
And to think of all the time I wasted reading heavy tomes of theology and studying with professors to learn theology when what I should have been doing is playing video games to learn how God structures Christian theology and the Christian life.  Too bad I spent so much time studying what my theological forefathers who were ignorant of modern insights and too bound to their more primitive (relatively speaking) culture to appreciate what our contemporaries learn from our modern and up to date culture.   ;D


Perhaps that's why so many of our congregations are full of retirees and lack so many of the video-game generation.
"The church ... had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Don Whitbeck

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 847
  • Don, St Pauls Lutheran Church, Royal Oak, Mi
    • View Profile
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2012, 04:56:10 AM »
And to think of all the time I wasted reading heavy tomes of theology and studying with professors to learn theology when what I should have been doing is playing video games to learn how God structures Christian theology and the Christian life.  Too bad I spent so much time studying what my theological forefathers who were ignorant of modern insights and too bound to their more primitive (relatively speaking) culture to appreciate what our contemporaries learn from our modern and up to date culture.   ;D


Perhaps that's why so many of our congregations are full of retirees and lack so many of the video-game generation.


Perhaps that's why so many of our congregations are full of retirees and lack so many of the video-game generation.

Prehaps, that the post modern man, see no need for the church, since the church is no longer interested in keeping Christian Doctrine, as the retirees knew it!
The Voice of God will NEVER Contradict the Word of God

Dave Benke

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13718
    • View Profile
    • Saint Peter's Lutheran Church
Re: Evangelicals' cultural influence collapsing?
« Reply #54 on: May 21, 2012, 09:20:43 AM »
And to think of all the time I wasted reading heavy tomes of theology and studying with professors to learn theology when what I should have been doing is playing video games to learn how God structures Christian theology and the Christian life.  Too bad I spent so much time studying what my theological forefathers who were ignorant of modern insights and too bound to their more primitive (relatively speaking) culture to appreciate what our contemporaries learn from our modern and up to date culture.   ;D

Perhaps that's why so many of our congregations are full of retirees and lack so many of the video-game generation.


Perhaps that's why so many of our congregations are full of retirees and lack so many of the video-game generation.

Prehaps, that the post modern man, see no need for the church, since the church is no longer interested in keeping Christian Doctrine, as the retirees knew it!

Of course, the Bible is replete with references to the importance of teaching the next generation and the one after that (unto the third and fourth generation, etc.).  It's fair to make an assessment that parts of the church are not interested in keeping Christian doctrine in the way of the retirees.  However, in reality whether it's a more moderate or highly conservative aspect of the Church, there are way less children and young people being catechized. 

So the question to the more conservative in doctrine is whether the strategies for teaching the young the Christian faith are working.  If they're not, and the evidence is pretty clear that there's a major downturn in children learning the faith across the theological spectrum, then it just seems obdurate to mandate the indoctrinationally auditory to this very visually-oriented generation that receives information daily at a level richer than my generation did in a year.

Rail at the educational philosophies now in use.  They do mandate from the very earliest organized settings a richness and diversity of experience and exploring, rather than the cookie-cutter approach.  I was at a meeting yesterday at which our community organization partnered officially with NYC to bring a school that focuses on English and creative writing to the toughest neighborhood in the city (by chance, I turned the tube on the other night to Death Wish 3, in which Charles Bronson guns down half of - my neighborhood in East New York!).  90% of the students in the existing school go on to college, many on scholarship.  This is not accomplished by rote methodologies, but by interactive and exploratory inductive methodologies. 

Going to the teaching of the faith, the binding together of the objective/memorized/doctrinal to the experiential in essay/poem/servant event seems to me to be a lively option; we encourage it in both parish and family, unto the third and fourth generation.  In short, there's nothing wrong with the Church stating "No child left behind."

Dave Benke


It's OK to Pray