Diving into the Deep End of the Pool

I was recently interviewed by Kara Powell at Fuller Seminary’s Fuller Youth Institute.  We’ve been friends for a while, and we had a great chat.  She asked me for my thoughts on the transition between high school and college for Christian kids, and we stumbled into a very helpful metaphor near the end on the “church vs. culture” debate.

Listen here: Tony Jones on the Fuller Youth Institute Podcast

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  • symbiont

    You say “All there is, is culture…as well as you not understanding …”culture being something that we can stand over against and look at as though it is some object outside of us.”

    Mr. Jones…I disagree. Theoretical arguments and metaphors only work on minds that cannot objectify. It is the difference between a young mind and an adult mind. Being objective as well as being free to participate in their objective views is one of many paths to enlightenment.

    Your agrarian/pool metaphors only go so far in understanding postmodern culture. You say that culture is something we cultivate as humans which is true. However, when living overseas as many do in their adult lives, learning to objectify culture when you arrive is the only way to break the developmental conditioning that one has been subjected to. Using the power of objectivity we are able to adapt, learn and live in many different cultures. It is a very powerful tool and should be used by anyone leaving their culture to live and work in another.

    Traveling as you do, is indeed a way to enlighten the mind (Australia, South Africa, England etc) but, you yourself are always returning to your basic developmental construct (Minneapolis, MN) that guides your life. In doing so you miss the value of getting to apply objectivity in order to survive long-term in a real community (not an online community).

    I challenge you to go further with your scholarly empiricism, and see what it is like to live outside of the US for a time (minimum 2 years or 8 seasons for comparison or longer). In doing so you will be able to understand culture better as it pertains to those characters in the bible who left their homes completely to spread their messages and then also be in a position to better teach youth to do so as well.

    We (in the US) need to prepare young adults to understand and survive peacefully in other cultures these days, rather than imposing our own when we arrive. As it turns out, more and more youth will need this kind of training in order to survive in an increasingly globalised world.

    “Culture making” includes being highly skilled in objectivity, and it is objectivity that allow us to wade deeper into the world peacefully and joyfully.

  • Matt Wilcoxen


    Thanks for the link. I really enjoyed that interview, and your thoughts.