I have been thinking a good deal lately about culture and how it happens.  There are two kinds of Pop culture it seems—the kind we consume and the kind we produce.  These days the kind we consume seems to dominate.  That we consume culture is not a bad thing, but that this form of pop culture dominates is poverty of soul.

Reclaiming Local Culture

Can we reclaim our local cultural sovereignty?

As with any form of poverty this poverty of soul is marked by a lack of local sufficiency and sustainability.  Rather than a vast multiculturalism of varied forms born from varied places we have culture filtered through the manufacturing centers of industrial media.  Local places are left reading, watching, listening, and even tasting what was produced from these cultural centers.

How then do we develop productive culture at home?  We must start by taking back the means of production and make the home a place of cultural innovation.  Write plays about and for your place, film documentaries about local stories, sit around with friends and play music.  Just as many of us are returning to local control of our food, growing it and cooking it ourselves, we must reclaim cultural sovereignty.  We should open ourselves to the new tools at our disposal.  Certain cultural forms like video are becoming widely available and affordable, as is audio recording.

Of course, to reclaim local culture we must reclaim time.  Producing culture take time and it takes space in our lives.  We must learn to quit and quit well all of the things vying for our attention.  Sabbaths are required for resurrection—and this is no different for our cultural life.  So quit something, gather around the fire with friends, and make a new thing happen.

Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan Sutterfield (M.Div. Virginia Theological Seminary) is ordained in the Episcopal Church and serves a parish in his native Arkansas. is the author of 'This is My Body: From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit and Deeper Faith', 'Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us',and the small collection of essays 'Farming as a Spiritual Discipline'. Ragan works to live the good life in partnership with his wife Emily and daughters Lillian and Lucia.

Latest posts by Ragan Sutterfield (see all)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This