In sociology, counter culture
is a term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day; a culture with lifestyles and values opposed to those of the established culture.
I think it would be safe to say that the established North American culture embraces shopping for stuff we don't need
(a.k.a. materialism / consumerism) as a normal
Christmas behavior. This behavior has also become "normal" at Easter, Halloween, Valentine's Day, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, births, deaths, graduations, job promotions, retirement parties and various other special occasions throughout the year.
Don't misunderstand me - I don't have a problem giving gifts, in fact, I love to give gifts to people. I even believe God wants us to be generous
givers. But does it make sense to spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts that go on sale the day after Christmas?
And what about Christian stores that adopt the same sales and marketing strategies as the established culture? For example - Christian retailers sell "Jesus Junk"
to their born again customers for 40 - 70% above cost in the weeks leading up to Christmas, only to drastically reduce the prices a few hours AFTER Christmas so those SAME believers can spend even MORE money on stuff they don't need!
On December 24th the latest TobyMac
CD your preteen wants for Christmas will cost $15.99. But on December 26th (less than 48 hours later) you could buy the same CD for $7.97! But because you don't want to disappoint your preteen you purchase the CD at the higher price. That way you can have it wrapped and under the tree for Christmas morning so that your kid won't be sad that they didn't receive the CD they asked Satan, I mean Santa
, to bring them! Afterall, TobyMac is about as counter culture
as you can get! Isn't he?
(No, wait. Actually, I think TobyMac is status quo when it comes to Christian pop culture. Yeah. Christian, pop, culture. Okay, I'm WAY off topic here. Now where was I.)
Oh yeah! What it means to be counter culture
as a Christian. Hmmm. I may have to buy a copy of the latest Relevant Magazine
to continue this chat. Surely they could help me sort this all out.(Hopefully it's on sale!)