Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

General, Pop Culture

Culture of obsolescence and creating engaging culture

Al Hsu (over at The Suburban Christian) had a couple of interesting posts recently.

The first, The Suburban Christian: Planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence, links through to The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard and ponders Christian responses to consumerism.

The second, The Suburban Christian: On role playing and creating culture, notes the recent death of Gary Gygax (co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons) and the need to be creators of engaging culture rather than just critics of culture. I can identify with Hsu’s point the Gygax created an attractive immersive and social environment. Certainly, when I was at high school in the early 80s D&D (and to a lesser extent Rune Quest) were all the rage amongst my classmates.

Personally, I enjoyed Traveller (a science fiction role playing game) because it came with rules for starship and solar system generation, a developing historical context (detailed in the supporting journal), and series of board games that fitted into this history (e.g. Dark Nebula).

Related links: Wired – Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax and Dylan Horrock’s Gary Gygax R.I.P. – Vox (with link to Horrock’s 95bfm interview about D&D).


  1. There really is SO little actual Christian thinking about the culture of obsolescence and how we should/might live and move within (alongside?) it. Many of us have green(ish) desires and practices, but to what extent are they “Christian” and to what extend to they penetrate either the wider church, or our own spirituality? I guess Tom Sine at Mustard Seed has done some work, as have other individuals and groups, but little that seems to penetrate to the pews!

  2. I’m not sure if my comment got through, there was an Internet outage, then WP said “You already said that…” but now despite refreshing the page I can’t see it… Basically I expressed the opinion that though many Christians have semi-green preferences, we have no worked out theology or spirituality for dealing with decisions relating to “obsolesent” articles on a day to day basis, and we only give each other marginal support in resisting the dominant cultural trends – iPhone anyone 😉

    Maybe we need to talk and begin to develop a simple set of spiritual practices that could assist our purchase decision-making…

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