Thursday, 16 December 2010

engaging with popular culture: what is it?

I've mentioned previously on my blog that one of the things that we do in the student gathering at Woody Road is attempt to get better at engaging with popular culture.

Before we started attempting to engage with culture from a Christian perspective I did a short session giving some thoughts about why and how we should do this.

I thought I'd re-work the material a little bit for a short series of blog posts - hope you enjoy! If you'd like to think a bit more about this stuff, I'd recommend listening to this talk, which (you'll notice) I nicked a few of my ideas from!

Anyway, here goes!

Here's a bit of a theology of pop culture.

Pop culture bears the stamp of the people making it:

Image of God

People are made in the image of God. This can be taken to mean all sorts of things, and I think it's primarily about us being relational. However, with that said, I think being made in the image of God also means that we share some characteristics with God.

God is a creative God, and so it's no surprise that we see expressions of creativity everywhere from people. In a sense that's just what popular culture is: creative creatures being creative. God is creative so we too are creative - this expression of creativity is a good thing!

God made us in his image, so we're creative, but also uniquely amongst all of creation we are created to have a relationship with Him. Fundamentally human beings have a religious orientation. We naturally want to find something beyond ourselves, we think there's some greater meaning, some greater purpose, something out there to grasp and know. This longing is very often reflected in pop culture, so if we're looking for the right things then, when engaging with popular culture, it's often easy to see how it is (in some senses) a form of worship.

So that's how it was intended. We were made as creative people who we given creative expression as a way of relating to and worshipping God, and of serving other people.

In the next post we'll see how the fall affects popular culture.

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