Using Pop Culture to Reach People
- Friday, May 20, 2011
Editor's Note: This article originally ran in May of 2011.
Mike Blackaby is tired of seeing people of his generation fall away from their faith. At 26 years old, he has watched many of the people from his past church youth group and mission trips drift from their beliefs, as many of them are being sucked in by popular culture.
“Seeing this broke my heart, and I wanted to figure out why it was happening,” said Blackaby. “It seems to me that much of this can be traced back to the influence of pop culture. There are a lot of spiritual collisions as a Christian because the world around you is so different. So, I wanted to explore how to be immersed in pop culture without compromising and giving in to the world’s values.”
This quest resulted in a book he co-authored with his younger brother, Daniel. The book, titled When Worlds Collide: Stepping Up and Stepping Out in an Anti-God Culture will release on June 1. These young men are no strangers to speaking boldly in the current culture. Their father and grandfather, Richard and Henry, respectively, have done the same thing through works such as Experiencing God and Spiritual Leadership.
Because pop culture does promote many ideas that counter Christian values, Blackaby says we must be “colliders,” people who do not hide from pop culture, rather engage the world through it as a believer in Christ. “You just have to decide how to engage it, because you are going to, one way or another.”
Most people, Christians included, seem to disengage their minds when they listen to music, watch movies or enjoy art in some other form, Blackaby has observed. Over time, this shapes the way they think.
“A lot of Christians fill their lives with pop culture and never think about it, and never filter it through a Christian worldview. Before long, their belief system reflects Hollywood and they have no idea how they got there,” he explains. “This is why their relationships look more like ‘The Bachelor’ and not the Bible.”
So, now that we understand just how pop culture plays a role in our thinking (and inevitably our actions), what are some practical ways we can use pop culture as a tool to engage the world in which we live?
Here are a few:
“Satan’s big tool these days is pop culture. I’m not saying that all of it is ‘bad,’ I’m simply saying that instead of turning our brains off when we’re being entertained, we need to challenge ourselves by asking how this counters or compliments a biblical worldview and talk about it with people,” said Blackaby. “Pop culture is not something in which you should passively participate. Actively put on your thinking cap and filter what you’re seeing and hearing through your Christian worldview.”
What does it look like to be engaging? Blackaby uses the example of the movie Inception, and explains how we as believers can think through it and discuss it. This film carries themes of the power of the mind and how it can influence our actions. Meaning, whatever actions we carry out first started in our thinking and in our hearts.
Let’s say you’re discussing movies with someone and this particular film comes up in the conversation. Because you have seen the movie (or at least read reviews and know the plot), you can then enter into dialogue about the power of the mind in our lives. That would be an open door to share how you, as a Christian, keep your mind renewed (through Bible study, prayer and other spiritual disciplines).
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