Item description for The (Magic) Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries by Michael Budde...
Overview Author Michael Budde provides a unique examination of global for-profit industries--television, advertising, movies--and their impact upon Christian practice. He calls for the Christian community to radically re-emphasize the subversive theme of the Gospel and to embrace its role as countercultural alternative.
Publishers Description In "The (Magic) Kingdom of God, " Michael Budde offers a multidisciplinary analysis of the "global culture industries"--increasingly powerful, centralized corporate conglomerates in television, advertising, marketing, movies, and the like--and their impact on Christian churches in industrialized countries. Utilizing ideas from contemporary and classical schools of political economy, the author explains why the study of global culture industries is essential for understanding the current era of global capitalism.In suggesting that the cultural ecology shaped by these industries undermines many of the primary processes and structures through which people become committed Christians, Budde offers a novel utilization of linguistic-based theories of religious formation. Responses by churches to the new situation--more religious education or attempts to use the global culture industries for Christian purposes--are explored and found lacking. For the subversive praxis of Jesus of Nazareth to endure in the cultural ecology of postmodernism, Budde argues, churches must come to embrace their role as radical and countercultural alternative communities in which lay formation becomes a central preoccupation.
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More About Michael Budde
Michael Budde is associate professor of political science at DePaul University.
Reviews - What do customers think about The (Magic) Kingdom of God: Christianity and Global Culture Industries?
Jesus Overcame the World and "Global Culture Industries" Jun 12, 2008
As a seminary student reading Budde's The (Magic) Kingdom of God I realize he is making a case for how the people who come to church are being formed by global culture industries before they ever walk through the doors of a church. I think this is an important discussion for someone who has never considered how insidious cultural values are, in America or any other nation. I personally resist nationalism in many of its forms, while still appreciating that I am privileged to live in a wealthy country with extensive personal liberties afforded to me, specifically ones that allow me to practice any religion of my choosing without government interference. I am also very aware that my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world do not often live with these same privileges and much of the responsibility for this can be laid at the feet of global forces, including the "culture industries" that Budde speaks about in this book.
However, it's essential for Christians to remember that Christ in his crucifixion was more powerful than all these forces. With church attendance being more by personal choice than community expectation in our post-Christian world, we must note that the people in church are potentially more personally invested in being there. And the church is looking at social justice issues, environmental concern and holistic living more than in any previous generation. (While some of this is faddishness, I do believe there is a genuine shift happening from witnessing about personal salvation narratives to working toward God's "kingdom" coming to earth). When I studied sociology at university I became tired of the viewpoint in so many of my classes that we are so deeply ingrained with the values instilled in us by "global culture industries" that we can't think for ourselves.
Jesus has overcome the world. In allowing himself to be crucified, he turned the world upside down. While it's important to realize the systemic sin around us, and analyze our life choices accordingly, we also have to remember that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. If a person/corporation/nation doesn't realize it is lost, it will not be sought and saved by him. It's important for church leaders to look at these forces as they affect the people in our congregations and our culture, but it's also key that we do not become afraid or timid in tackling the issues brought up by the influence of these industries. With the renewing of our minds, we can be transformed, and we can help the body of people entrusted to us to know God's holy and perfect will as they strive to live blamelessly in His sight.
A Solid Account of Key Issues Facing the Church Jun 6, 2008
Many persons in religious settings intuit that consumerism affects the people in their congregations. Michael Budde employs his social scientific ken to illuminate how the contemporary American economy necessitates that people be formed into consumers. Budde writes as a political economist, a Roman Catholic, and most importantly, a lover of the church. The (Magic) Kingdom of God describes how "culture industries" deliberately shape the social order for the purpose of creating particular values - values that stimulate spending. After describing the political-economic landscape, Budde engages the work of George Lindbeck in order to uncover how religions function as cultures in their own right. Thus, it is no exaggeration, according to Budde, to say that a competition for the hearts and minds of the people in the pews is occurring today. The final chapters invite the reader to consider how the church can be faithful in its cultural context without withdrawing from the world.
Readers who approach the text understanding that Budde is calling for faithful engagement, not sectarian retreat, will benefit most from (Magic) Kingdom. His theology touches the surface, and in that sense, it merely introduces Lindbeck's complex philosophy of religion. On the other hand, his more technical account of political economy requires a bit of work from the reader. Although Budde directs his work toward a Roman Catholic audience, all leaders in the church, mosque, or synagogue who are concerned about how culture forms the faithful will find that he provides a useful resource that will deepen one's understanding of the conflict between faith and consumer capitalism.
Church and Cultural Capital Apr 19, 2005
Author Michael Budde states: "Whatever power the Catholic Church wields in today's world is ultimately a reflection of its cultural power [...] The Church operates primarily as a cultural actor in the contemporary world". It follows, therefore: "How is [the Church] affected by those actors who are most dominant in the exercise of cultural power [...] the global, trans-sectoral culture industries"? That is, how does the powerful and all-pervasive media culture impact the culture of the Church?
Budde argues that "narrative theology" holds the key to countering the negative effects of the culture industry. He quotes John Navone to argue that our lives are shaped by "models, metaphors, stories, and myths". Since these shape our lives above all, it follows that the solution to the culture industry lies in "embodied religious narratives, learned and internalized through strong ecclesial structures and experiences". In short, "spiritual formation" presents the solution to the culture industry.
One reservation above all comes to mind. Budde describes the vast and growing impact of the culture industry, which would seem to overshadow any impact that spiritual formation might hope to have. As one example, the average Catholic spends "three and four times as much time" before the TV than the Church's most committed 3% spend at Church. Thus he would appear to make his own argument for the inevitable failure of his stratagem. In the words of his publishers, he (merely, in my view) replaces "religious education" with "lay formation". I cannot see how this should offer anything significantly new.
He seems close to a real alternative when he discusses the notion of Robin Gill, that WORSHIP is "a key feature in doctrinal formation". However, he prefers to settle for the "narrative" alternative - viewing "the process of becoming religious as similar to that of acquiring a culture or learning a language".
How does the powerful and all-pervasive media culture impact the culture of the Church? Budde's answer is a decidedly negative one, if not alarmist. In a worst case, the Church as Church may "dissolve", and may not "survive". Yet he fails, in my view, to present a convincing answer to the problem, except to suggest redoubled efforts of spiritual formation, with all that this might imply for disillusionment in the priesthood, questions of control and manipulation, and continuing failure to shore up the cultural power of the Church.