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MLK Drum Major for Justice Scholars Program


Considering the Value of Christ and Culture for Today

READING: Darryl M. Trimiew, “Jesus Changes Things: A Critical Evaluation of "Christ and Culture" from an African American Perspective,” 

Now that you have a good understanding of Niebuhr's different paradigms for the relationship between Christ (or Christianity) and the larger culture, this learning resource asks the question, "What value is Niebuhr's proposal for the twenty-first century Church, especially the black Church?" The resource points out that, on the one hand, Niebuhr's work represents great, even groundbreaking ethical work for its time, but that time has passed.


On the other hand, his proposal continues to be used by communities of faith and their leaders to analyze the often complicated ways in which they interact with their surrounding culture. The resource attempts to revise and reinterpret Niebuhr's "Christ-transforming-culture typology" by focusing on liberationist movements in particular. 


As you read, consider the following questions: 

  • According to the article, what aspects of Niebuhr's understanding of "transformation" need to be changed?

  • The resource offers several examples of the "Christ-transforming-culture" typology that lead to a false understanding of Jesus and moral error. What advice does the resource offer in terms of identifying and critically engaging these false understandings?

  • According to the resource, Niebuhr's typologies are "merely signposts" for how communities of faith might act in the world (162). What does this mean about Niebuhr's proposal and its applicability for your personal context?

Click here to review the article, Trimiew, Jesus Changes Things.

Source: Darryl M. Trimiew, “Jesus Changes Things: A Critical Evaluation of "Christ and Culture" from an African American Perspective,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 23 (2003): 157–65


*** Estimated time to complete learning activity: 27 minutes ***

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