Thursday, June 7, 2012

Redeeming pop culture?

If you're a Christian in America, you've invariably felt the tension between enjoying various aspects of popular culture, including its music, sports, internet, television, film, holidays/traditions, and a wariness or outright concern about how pervasive and often worldly/ungodly so much of pop culture is.  What's a Christian to do?  Hide from pop culture?  Create a parallel but 'sanitary' Christian culture?

In his book Redeeming Pop Culture, TM Moore describes how pop culture is inescapable - even for the Amish.  At the same time, thinking a parallel Christian culture (complete with 'our' movies, music, etc.) is the answer, says Moore, has its own pitfalls. Rather, as those who've both received God's creation mandate to fill the earth with God's glory and subdue it toward His ends, Christians have an opportunity and responsibility to redeem pop culture.

Moore sums up the point of his book this way: "My purpose is not to sound the alarm regarding popular culture.  Instead, it is to explain something of the character of this uniquely modern and post-modern phenomenon so as to alert evangelicals to the inherent dangers of an unguarded approach to popular culture, and to highlight the need to equip them to deal with it....Then they may begin to equip and discipline themselves to appreciate and participate in popular culture in such a way as to benefit from its beauty and resist its undermining power."  (pp. 36-37)

God wants us to be in the world but not of it.  He wants us to enjoy all good things (I Timothy 6:17), but do so in a transformative way which helps bring Christ's Kingdom to bear in every aspect of life and culture.  Do you want to know how to do that and, if you're a parent, train your children to be wise practitioners of pop culture rather than being dangerously swept up by it?  This book by TM Moore may be the best place to start on that culturally redemptive adventure.

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