In an earlier post, I promised some interaction with Art Azurdia’s latest book Connected Christianity: Engaging Culture Without Compromise. Probably the most helpful thing he said, for me personally, was what he called “two practical distortions that have severely undercut our gospel effectiveness: cultural gluttony or cultural anorexia.” Then he defined each of these:
What is cultural gluttony? It is sinful compromise with the world: that is, the consequence of being missional without being theological. Often masked in the guise of desiring to win the world, Christians rabidly pursue likeness to the world. Over time, unfortunately, the world’s values, objectives, and desires become our values, objectives and desires. Cultural gluttony is the act of consuming the culture until it forms us. (taken from p.25)
After some extended discussion on the ramifications of this, he defined cultural anorexia:
An alternative to which the church has often succumbed in reaction is that of cultural anorexia: that is, the consequence of being theological without being missional. It takes the form of a radical and decided withdrawal from the world. Since we are determined not to let the world shape us, we isolate, insulate, and withdraw. Before long the Church evolves into a kind of enclave, a ghetto, an island of irreverent piety, and eventually we lose the ability to speak to non-Christians. Worse yet, our hearts become filled with a compassionless indifference toward such people. (taken from pp.26-27)
I was really helped by Azurdia and seeing these extremes, because I think I’ve been a part of the second at a point or two on my life. As I thought about this again this week, it can easily be a way to drift into self-righteous tendencies and miss out on the mission to which we have been called. I would recommend Azurdia’s book and all that he lays out in this helpful book.