What Do Larry Norman, Coffee and an Obelisk Have to Do With Incarnationality?
Tonight on the Journey Home, Dr. Peter Hoff, former Baptist, described how the Church could take truth and goodness from any source, outside the Church, and "baptize" and use it within the Church for the glory of God and the edification of the faithful. This has been a hallmark of Catholic Christianity from the early days when the Church would appropriate a heathen temple and sanctify it and use it for the worship of the triune God.
This concept can be seen in the music, architecture and art of all of Christendom which takes the best of all sources that point to goodness, beauty and truth, because the Church recognizes that these are ultimately all from God. This is quite a departure from the way in which I saw the world in my little evangelical blinders and took some time for me to get use to this. My world use to be very black and white. If it's not in the bible or doesn't have a bible verse associated with it, or doesn't say Jesus in some obvious way, it's no good and of no use. Hence, I stopped listening to music or appreciating anything that wasn't in the 1970's sub-culture of American-evangelical Christianity which shaped my vision of the world. Sadly, I isolated myself from much truth and goodness because of my failure to see the Creator's handiwork in the "secular" world.
Ironically, this wonderful ability of Catholicism to incorporate the beauty and truth in the secular world is the very thing that it gets criticized for by those who need to see the "Jesus stamp" on something before it is approved and accepted. Ultimately it all goes back to the paradigm which I have blogged repeatedly about before that non-Catholic Christianity often follows the material/flesh=bad but invisible/ephemeral=good. This is a flawed view of the world that goes against the very essence of incarnationality. God took flesh and came into the world to redeem our flesh and the world. This redemption carries through to all of the material world. Thank God for the wisdom of the Catholic faith because it has allowed us to look at the world and say "it is good." Heck, if it wasn't for a pope, we wouldn't have coffee because its from the Islamic world and was known as Satan's Drink! I suspect Larry Norman was influenced by this Catholic concept after reading Chesterton and it was reflected in his music. "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?