the creatives are coming! the creatives are coming!

February 2, 2005

In reading through The Cultural Creatives, some of the thoughts I suggested in this post are becoming more clear. There is a cultural distinction that has become more and more evident in North America (and elsewhere) in the past few decades. Some have called it postmodernism and some have defined it as differences in generations (Gen-X, etc.). For various reasons, that I won’t get into at this point, neither of those have quite seemed to be to be the best way to designate what is happening.

This book, as well as The Rise of the Creative Class, which I admittedly haven’t yet read, seem to define a whole new segment of the population who simply think differently about things. I’m wondering if this might not be the best way for us to define what is happening in people who are identifying with what the emerging church is all about.

It is far better than the generational designation, because it seems pretty evident that much of what what is going on doesn’t fully fit within generational segments. It is also easier to get a handle on than postmodernism, and the broad cultural shifts that many are claiming are happening. Either or both of these certainly contain a degree of truth but viewing things in terms of this creative class makes it a bit easier to get a hold of.

I’ll close this out with some of the things they say about the creatives. See for yourself if these don’t seem to fit in well with some of what those in the emerging church are feeling and saying. Perhaps this line of research is something that everyone who identifies in some way with the emerging church needs to do some reading on.

  • “Cultural Creatives are the ones who invented the current interest in personal authenticity in America. … They distrust presentations that rely on bullet points that march to the bottom line, in part because these kinds of presentations are so often manipulations and make it harder to come to conclusions that are personally relevant. They like first-person accounts, and they dislike journalistic styles that claim to be completely objective and that focus only on externals. And they are espeically sensitive to what they regard as slick, meaningless hype in advertising.”
  • “The kind of action that especially appeals to them is what Margaret Mead called ‘whole process,’ where they can be part of creating something from the beginning, middle, end, and through to the new beginning. They would agree…that ‘the world is too complex for linear analytic thinking now. To be smart in the global village means thinking with your stomach, thinking rhythmically, thinking organically, thinking in terms of yourself as an interwoven piece of nature.”
  • “When it comes to giving money and time, Cultural Creatives want to be engaged in the whole process of a project, and they want to be personally invovled.”
  • “Eighty-one percent of Cultural Creatives say that they are very or extremely concerned about “problems of global environment: global warming, destruction of rain forests, destruction of species, loss of the ozone layer.”
  • The Moderns are defined in the book in the same way as they are in most of the postmodern conversation. Here’s an example from the book: “The Moderns’ perspective is the taken-for-granted perspective of those who belong to the dominant culture. It’s a whole system of beliefs that says, ‘This is obviously how it is.’ In the practical workday world, it is, ‘This is simply what works, the only way to do it.'”
  • “At some point in their lives, most people who become Cultural Creatives let go of what once felt sure and safe and comfortable and venture onto a new life path. Whether their leave-taking is exhilarating or anxiety-provoking, sorrowful or determined, they are likely to encounter loneliness and a kind of primal fear of ‘being cut from the herd. Of being separated, unloved, uncared for.’ Because they have no idea that many others have already set out ahead of them, or are walking nearby, they’ll have a sense of marginality.”
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