In the popular 1990 film Home Alone, Kevin is a boy who has accidentally been left behind from the family Christmas vacation. He manages to do most things on his own, but is afraid of the basement. Every time he creeps down the stairs, he sees the furnace flare up with eyes of fire, and a large mouth that opens and closes and threatens to gobble him up. As Kevin begins to take responsibility for his life – grocery shopping, cleaning and even protecting the
house from robbers – his confidence grows.
In one scene he puts an end to the fear. While doing
his laundry in the basement, he sees again the monster
of his imagination growling before him. This time he
looks at it with the confidence of experience, and
simply says, “Aw, shut up!” The furnace closes, the
room is quiet and Kevin gets on with his work.
Life in Canadian culture can sometimes leave us
feeling like Kevin. We feel we are left alone to defend
the Christian faith. We see and hear the monsters in
the basement all around us, telling us we are under fire
and under threat.
But when we look at our culture carefully in the light
of day, we may find things are not as scary as we first
thought. Perhaps the monsters are mostly creatures of
our imaginations, fuelled by the fear of change and
Yes, the Church is declining.
Yes, the Christian influence in Western society is
Yes, culture is secularizing at a rapid rate.
No, the Church doesn’t enjoy the same cultural
position it used to.
In response to a secularizing culture, and a declining
Church, many Christians have retreated to a cozy room
of comfort and locked the door – the spiritual equivalent of hiding under the covers.
There are two problems with this retreat from culture. First, there are fewer and less scary monsters than
we imagine. Although we are experiencing a great deal
of cultural shift that leaves us feeling unsettled and
disoriented, God is still on His throne, and His Church
is still on mission in this country.
We enjoy an immense amount of freedom to worship
and live out our faith with commitment and enthusiasm. Christians enjoy many privileges too, from tax
laws favourable to religious organizations, to a general
moral influence that resonates in many local communities as it does in our national consciousness.
Many events have played large in the national media
that seem to undermine Christianity in Canada. Some-
Christians are part of culture and culture
is part of us BY ANNA ROBBINS