Friday, 17 December 2010

engaging with popular culture: what is it? part 2


In the previous post, we began to think about a theology of popular culture, looking at how being made in the image of God means that we're designed to creatively relate to and worship God.

But people are fallen.

The Fall

Since the fall, we still have a religious orientation. However, that orientation is warped. We still have a sense of wanting to worship something greater than us, we still have the sense that there is meaning in life and that there is something out there beyond ourselves, but instead of worshipping God we create idols - gods of our own - and we worship them.

Now, obviously idols aren't simply things that sit on the idol shelf saying 'hello, I'm an idol carved out of wood'... you'll know that already. They're far more subtle – family, relationships, wealth, status – they're anything that human hearts orbit around and treat as the thing that gives them meaning, security, hope, or whatever.

And so instead of using our creativity to worship God, we use it to worship idols, and instead of using our creativity to serve each other, we use it to serve ourselves. And you see this sort of thing going on in popular culture all the time.

So when we engage with popular culture we engage with it knowing the human heart, and we expect to see things that have been distorted and twisted and made into idols – it's one of the things that we should look out for. When you're alert to it, you see it all over the place. It doesn't take much digging beneath the surface to reveal how hollow these idols are.

The fall, as you know, isn't the end of the story. God didn't just leave people grasping after idols with no hope of finding the true source of meaning and true subject of worship. More on that in the next post!

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