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Intersection of Life and Faith

Christians should help shape the popular culture

  • 2001 5 May
  • COMMENTS
Christians should help shape the popular culture
The popular culture - movies, television shows, rock concerts and other forms of entertainment for mass audiences - is vitally important, because culture reflects what society values. Rather than avoiding popular culture because some of its content is offensive, Christians should participate in the culture, analyzing it, critiquing it and shaping it.

Here are some ways you can become more engaged with the popular culture:

  • Experience secular presentations within the popular culture. For instance, don't just watch Christian television programs; watch a broad range of television shows to understand the content that is being broadcast. Let the popular culture give you insight into what a broad range of people in society are thinking and feeling.

  • Pay attention to more than just the moral values that popular culture presents. Also consider the artistic quality of the presentations you experience, and ask yourself why the shows or concerts do or don't move you. Realize that the most popular presentations reach people at a very visceral level, and that God's redemption story should also be presented in artistically powerful ways to reach people.

  • Think critically about the entertainment you experience. Don't view entertainment as merely a mindless way to relax; instead, analyze what you experience in light of scriptural truth and talk with others about it.

  • Consider the perspectives on life issues that artists portray through their work. Then imagine how a Christian worldview could be illustrated within the same presentations.

  • Realize that God doesn't make distinctions between sacred and secular culture, but yearns for all culture to be redeemed. In the mishmash of good and bad that pervades popular culture in this fallen world, realize that there is much potential.

  • Work to produce contributions to the popular culture that shine Christ's light into the world, showing the destructiveness of sin and the living hope of redemption.

  • Always strive for artistic excellence in the entertainment you produce.

  • Realize that you don't have to make popular art into a worship experience in order to enjoy it.

  • Create popular art not just for evangelism, but to show how Christ can shed light on every aspect of life. Produce shows that cover all the topics secular shows do, illustrating how Christ works in people's lives.

  • Work to reinvent popular culture in ways that represent and affirm Biblical wisdom. Meet pervasive themes of sex, violence and materialism in secular presentations head-on, working to transform them rather than avoiding them.

  • Don't shy away from presenting the harsh realities of life in a fallen world. Rather than presenting unrealistically sappy art, strive instead to produce realistic material that shows Christ's power to redeem any situation.

-- By Live It Editor Whitney Von Lake Hopler

Adapted from Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture, copyright 2001 by William D. Romanowski. Published by Brazos Press, a division of Baker Book House Company, www.brazospress.com, 1-800-877-2665.

William D. Romanowski is professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a speaker on popular culture at churches and conferences.