Saturday, 13 October 2012

BLOG SPOT #5: Christ and Pop Culture

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Welcome once again to Blog Spot, in which I use my small but loyal following to give more attention to the work of others.

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a Christian. My reviews have often contained discussion of Biblical stories, themes or imagery, and many episodes of The Movie Hour podcast that I've done have tackled Christian or at least spiritual themes - for instance, The Wicker Man, Angel Heart, Heartless and Whistle Down the Wind. I'd like to stress, however, that I try not to intentionally force Christian interpretations onto a film just because I like it, or that I gravitate towards one film over another just because it appeals to my personal beliefs. I was guilty on both counts when I wrote this article for WhatCulture! about Christianity in film, and received such a well-deserved kicking for it that I felt the need to respond with this piece.

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All of which brings us on to another site which applies some form of Christian analysis and interpretation to popular culture - the aptly named Christ and Pop Culture. The site has been running in some form since 2007, and offers a wide range of articles on film, TV, literature and much, much more. While the tone of the site's content is broadly evangelical, if you look deep enough you'll find a range of opinions and a lot of intelligent analysis (not that evangelicals aren't  intelligent). At the very least, you won't find many articles which just throw Bible verses at you on the presumption that you already believe that the Bible is true.
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The site appeals to me because I feel that too many Christians try to avoid or deliberately disengage from popular culture because so much of it contradicts their beliefs. While I do believe that we shouldn't be slaves to material possessions, whether it's films or anything else, I also believe Christians have a duty to interact with popular culture, and can use it as a means of engaging other people with God's message. At the very least, we have to have some understanding and experience of popular culture in order to criticise it without looking like idiots. As the site puts it in its mission statement: "We aren’t interested in redeeming, baptising, abandoning, or dominating culture; we desire to be a faithful presence, honouring God and edifying our neighbour as we wisely participate in culture."

The site's homepage is here, and the rest of their mission statement can be found here. If you want a quick flavour of their style of film criticism, I suggest that you start with Nick Olson's recent review of Looper, which you can find (with spoilers) here. God bless you and thanks for reading.

Daniel

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