An Irrelevant World

“Poetry today huddles in its prescribed little ghettos—the sentimentalism of greeting cards and cupboard poetry, the small clutch of arcane poetry journals with circulations of thirteen, self-absorbed adolescents scribbling pages of navel-gazing free verse, and nationally-ignored poet laureates. That about covers the world of poetry.”

The Cultural Mind, p. 185

Heckling the Center from the Circumference

“The dishonesty of the whole endeavor is what causes conservative believers to adopt our classic and traditional tone—that of shrill—which we have used for so long it has almost become an art form among us. We have been cordoned off, and our response is to dance impatiently in place while heckling unbelief from our assigned place on the periphery.”

The Cultural Mind, p. 180

Pattern Recognition Failure

“So many churches, denominations, parachurch ministries, mission agencies, and publishing houses have drifted into unbelief and liberalism that one would think that we should know what it looks like by now. But Solomon’s words still ring true. Fools receiving an inheritance from the past do not think to inquire whether or not they are being fools. Every morning is a new day to them, and they see no need to cling to all those dry and dusty lessons from the day before. They just take the valuables, shake the dust of wisdom off them, and head down to the pawn shop.”

The Cultural Mind, pp. 177-178

Momentary Men, Not Modern

“We careen from one thing to the next, thumb on the remote. Our presidential debates are not debates at all but more like demolition derbies between competing sound bytes. On virtually all our products, we plaster some form of ‘New! Improved!’ In other words, the product is emphatically not what it was the last time we were foolish enough to buy it. Sermons have deteriorated into 10-minute-long, entertaining sketches of some inspiration mini-thought or other. Momentous event on the other side of the world are summarized for us on the evening news in one minute and forty-five seconds . . . and now this. Continuity bores us. Sustained thought is wearisome. And whatever you do, it better be different from last time. In a culture like ours, fads are just like cotton—the fabric of our lives.”

The Cultural Mind, pp. 169-170

Bag O’Snakes Seminary

“The Lord’s usual preaching target did not appear to be drug dealers and hookers. His assaults were usually directed at religious professionals. Further, He did not address them in a true collegial spirit, as one truth-seeking rabbi to another. Instead, He referred to ‘Fools and blind! Blind guides! Hypocrites! Serpents! Brood of vipers!” From all this we might conclude that seminaries should be called a bag of snakes from time to time in order to help them keep their vision and focus clear.”

The Cultural Mind, p. 166