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Dr. James Patrick says, in a sense, yes .

While today “it is almost impossible to pick up a publication written by Christians of traditional strype that does not propose recapturing the culture, Christianizing it, as a project lying at the heart of the Christian faith,” Patrick says, it “was not,” and is not, “the business of the Church to offer morally improving criticism to those without.”

Of course, Christians must be aware of the culture around them to a certain degree. “The lives of Christians and the mission of the Church move within and use an existing culture, and the Church may impress itself on the face of culture, but culture is at best a circumstance, a means, and occasionally, an encouragement.”

“The point,” Patricks says (my emphasis), “is that reforming culture directly is never the business of the Church.”

I think C. S. Lewis understood this well, as he speaks of joy ( Surprised by Joy)  in much the same way that James Patrick speaks of culture.  For Lewis, it is:

an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again . . . . I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.”

The same, I believe, can be said about holiness and the remaking of culture. Anyone who has experienced joy, holiness, or the fruits of a Christian culture “will want it again,” but we do not have power over these things. As long as Lewis meditated upon Joy and sought it out, it evaded him. It can only be experienced as the fruit of something else. As long as one sets out to be holy, he will not succeed, for his gaze is not upon God himself. As long as a Christian desires to “Christianize” the culture, he is not in the proper frame of mind.

“For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 32-33)

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