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Pop Goes Christianity - An Article Worth Reading

Friday, May 23, 2008

A very interesting article from (of all places) Slate Magazine. I gave some quotes from this article a couple of weeks ago in my "Christians and Popular Culture: Who Said This" post.

The reply by Don Johnson is the type of reply that I was expecting (and imagine I would likely have had more of if someone hadn't know the answer rather quickly).

In the article by Hannah Rosin entitled, "Pop Goes Christianity: The Deep Contradiction of Christian Popular Culture.", the author makes some quotes that many would assume were spoken by some old-school Fundamentalist preacher - or Scott Anoil.

For instance, the article states:

When you make loving Christ sound just like loving your boyfriend, you can do damage to both your faith and your ballad. That's true when you create a sanitized version of bands like Nirvana or artists like Jay-Z, too: You shoehorn a message that's essentially about obeying authority into a genre that's rebellious and nihilistic, and the result can be ugly, fake, or just limp.

It is frustrating to me that the truth of a statement like that seems to be obvious to those who approach "Christian culture" without the agenda of justifying that culture, yet if a Fundamentalist dares to make a comment like that, the Fundamentalist is said to be judgmental or critical - or at least "out of touch."

In Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17, we read these words:

John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Yet, it seems like on almost every front where modern evangelicalism (and in some cases, modern Fundamentalism as well) encounters popular culture, the effect is a blending of the cultures in such a way that the distinctly Christian aspect of the culture is lost.

The area of music is one of the most obvious areas where this is encountered. Secular performers have no qualms about identify the music itself as sending a message - a message that is diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, evangelicals (and some "so-called" Fundamentalists) continually argue that the music is amoral and suggest that the merging of the world's music and the Christian message is not only acceptable, but preferred.

Rather than pursuing the conditions that Christ prayed for, the modern church has reversed the desire of Christ and seems to be pursuing a direction of "of the world, but not in the world."

If you have the stomach for it, there is a site entitled "A Little Leaven" which calls itself an online "museum of idolatry" and gives a little bit of a picture of how bad things have gotten. (I don't endorse all the calls made by the site - but most of them are pretty clear.)

Some related posts may also be relevant.
Blue Suede Shoes - Post 1 and Post 2

The Christians Relationship to the World