**Language warning for the faint of heart**
Hobart is considered a Mecca for alternative art and food. Fresh produce and dark art comingle. Trade is booming. It’s all about the economy, right? Let’s leave the food for another discussion. Artists are a free lot. They don’t want stupid rules. Norms are there to be challenged. Laws are made to be bent and broken. Artistic expression transcends all things. So we are led to believe. Every raised eyebrow and furrowed brow is a sign of a bygone era, an age of religious bigotry. And it was boring as all hell anyway. Are you with me?
Christianity does not simply engage with culture. The gospel transforms cultures of death and delusion into life and beauty. All of this world belongs to the risen Messiah. Jesus owns everything (Matthew 28:18-20). Even the arts. All is His.
“Culture is simply the service of God in our lives; it is religion externalised.”1 Culture reflects a people’s religion in art, music, clothes, food and a myriad of other activities. Culture cannot be religiously neutral. It displays a people’s religion.
Darkness covered the face of the earth
Imagery of light conquering and transforming darkness weaves through Scripture. In the beginning darkness covered the face of the earth. God then performed a creative and cultural act of transforming darkness into light. Through sin the world fell into darkness again. God did not give up. His eternal plan to transform this world stood fast. Jesus the slayer of darkness, the ultimate light of the world came and conquered sin, Satan and death. Light comes after darkness. The deepest night is followed by the dawn. The Son of God destroyed darkness, brought in a new creation and reclaimed a dark world for the Father.
Jesus is the darkness slayer. His bride continues His work and must have no part with darkness. Christ cannot be mixed with Belial. The bride is not a soothsayer with a foot in both camps, trying to engage with dark culture through hosting the armies of darkness. No. Death has no part with life. Death seeks to destroy life. But the gospel won. Jesus was victorious. He ascended and is seated in the position of all power and authority in heaven and earth. His will is to be done her in the world. The dragon, death and darkness lost the war for planet earth.
Know this; the warrior bride of Christ will not lose the war. Victory was gained by Jesus at Calvary. Christ is the new King. He has all authority and power beyond the blue sky and down here in the dirt. Christ’s people are more than conquerors. We are in the business of mopping up through heralding the truth of His victory to the ends of the earth. Jesus will return when all the nations have been discipled. He will come on the clouds when all enemies have been placed under His feet. Much work needs to be done.
“Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’” Matthew 28:18-20
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
Light transforms darkness
Darkness does not spawn freedom. Nor does it produce cultural beauty. Darkness produces nihilistic culture. Death is darkness’ still born child. The light of this world brings freedom. Christianity produces cultural beauty, advancement and achievement. Christian culture is to reflect and glorify the Triune God of Scripture.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Art matters. Music matters. Literature matters. Culture is your religion externalised. What our society approves, creates and promotes displays the people’s god. Consistent Christianity transforms nihilistic societies into glorious civilisations. The Great Commission is grandiose. Resurrection from the dead is the start. Transforming all to the glory of God is the objective.
Flirting with death
Tasmanian churches will not transform society through cultural co-mingling. Becoming all things to all people does not equal artistic, musical and literature idolatry. Dancing with the Devil ends with tears. The church is to baptise and disciple. Through the Spirit she will produce a gloriously diverse culture that honours Christ as the sovereign over hearts, minds and all of culture. This is exciting. It is huge. Christians are not to shrink back from society. We are culture transformers. All of life is to presuppose and glorify Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This produces inspiring, glorious art, music and literature.
Darkness is to be transformed not partnered with. Christianity takes nihilistic culture and turns it on its head. It does not sell its soul to appear relevant and hip. There is objectivity in art, music and literature. A crucifix floating in a urine filled test tube is objectively yuk. Dark MOFO is objectively and unashamedly insidious. Tasmanian Christians ought not to be culturally approving of and partnering with Hobart’s Dark Mother F#####s2 (Dark MOFO).
Hobart’s mainstream winter festival is unashamedly saturated in wickedness and darkness. It is not a family event. Dark MOFO is a cancer. Death follows in its wake. The food may be good; the idolatrous culture of nihilism is putrid. From the Hymns to the Dead: “a celebration of dark and extreme music... Full of dark, brooding, extreme and cult bands,...”3 Dark MOFO is about “hopes, dreams, desires.”4 It presents and desires to baptise you in an anti-Christian religious worldview. Don’t be fooled.
The Bacchae event is set to tickle the senses; “a city teeters on the edge of crisis. A god arrives in the guise of a mortal. Boundaries collapse; old, young, boy, girl, human, beast, mortal, divine, light and darkness. Featuring an ensemble of young performers and musicians, The Bacchae is a hallucinatory theatrical event; a dream-like invocation of Dionysian excess and violence as told through the eyes of teenage girls. Please note: this production contains strobe lighting, smoke effects, simulated sex scenes, and violence.”5
Dark MOFO is a place for evildoers and evangelists; not your family’s mid-winter feast.
Pietism has nothing to do with Christianity. There are many provocative, sexually charged stories in the Bible. Much violence is weaved into the plot. God did not back away from producing an R rated Bible. But evil, sin and their consequences falls appropriately within the story arc. We must recognise story arcs and aim to develop and support those who tell stories that present the Christian worldview. Sin leads to certain consequences. Raging against God's Law and man destroys civilisations. But mercy and grace deliver man and his culture from death. Not every Christian story must have a happy ending. But we ought to see darkness being overcome with light. Struggle, faithfulness and diligence leads to victory. The weak overcome the powerful. We ought not idolise sin, death and darkness. They are results of the curse. We ought not gloat in them and celebrate them in our culture and story telling. Rather our celebrations are in the glorious conquering of these things.
Dark MOFO preaches darkness. It is a festival of evil. No Christian should want to support or partner with it.
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.” Proverbs 4:14-15.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” Ephesians 5:8-12
Depart from darkness
St David’s Cathedral should immediately withdraw their industry partnership with and support of Dark MOFO. 6 An orchestra in a cathedral does not give free passage to partnering with evil. The church does not have a heart of darkness. 7 Let’s not begin pretending. St David's, please evangelise at Dark MOFO but end your association with it.
“They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds, and the plague broke out among them...They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them; because they rebelled against His Spirit, so that he spoke rashly with his lips. They did not destroy the peoples, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the Gentiles and learned their works; they served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they were defiled by their own works, and played the harlot by their own deeds. Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance. And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles, and those who hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” Psalm 106:28-42
“For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. Also the children of Israel secretly did against the Lord their God things that were not right, and they built for themselves high places in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom the Lord had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger, for they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, ‘You shall not do this thing.’” 2 Kings 17:7-12.
1 van Til, Henry, Calvinistic Concept of Culture, P.190. Free PDF version of the book here: http://www.contra-mundum.org/books/Concept.pdf
2 The acronym MOFO means Mother Fucker – see http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/mofo, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mofo.
3 Sighted here: http://www.eventfinda.com.au/2016/hymns-to-the-dead/hobart
4 Sighted here: https://darkmofo.net.au/#news
6 Sighted here: https://darkmofo.net.au and scroll to the bottom of the page.
7 Sighted here: https://darkmofo.net.au/heart-of-darkness/