What’s Wrong With Christian Pop Culture (Part Three)
Christian pop culture shouldn’t even exist.
Oh, Christian art should exist.
No reason why Christians can’t express themselves and their theological interests creatively, but that should be a rarefied venue, accessible only to other seekers, not the hoi polloi.
And there’s no reason Christians can’t be involved in pop culture and use their personal spiritual values to inform their work in that field.
But today’s Christian pop culture is all about scoring the brownie points necessary to get a ticket to heaven.
Which is why it sucks.
American evangelical Christianity wants to buy its way into heaven with fresh souls won for Jesus.
They deliberately misread “…makes disciples of all nations” as “make all nations disciples.”
When they had force of numbers, American evangelical Christianity could cram that down everyone’s throat.
But they lack those numbers.
They can’t win stadiums full of souls by promising them a life of humility and servitude.
Not unless they sweeten the deal with a promise of pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by.
And even pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by doesn’t work when science and capitalism are undermining American evangelical Christianity’s core supernatural beliefs.
So they substitute pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by with the pie-right-NOW! of the prosperity gospel.
(And we’re not opening that can of worms in this post since it will take a 55-gallon drum to recan them. But soon…soon…)
But they can’t get people unless they approach them in a manner they understand, and so we have this sickly, mediocre, grotesque parody of genuine pop culture called Christian pop culture.
I know people engaged in Christian pop culture who genuinely and truly believe they are doing the Lord’s work.
As long as they do no harm, I will make no effort to disabuse them of that.
But a great many people are doing harm by falsely offering quick and easy panaceas when the true Gospel promise is one of work and sacrifice.
And the Christian pop culture they produce not only does nothing to genuinely prepare someone for a life of discipleship, if often actually leads them astray.
There’s a scene in Alfred Bester’s classic 1951 sci-fi novel The Demolished Man in which a long line of people are queued up for their turn to be tested and hopefully trained at an institute that specializes in ESP.
And of the long line snaking through the vast lobby, one person senses the unspoken command: “If you can hear this, go through the door on the left.”
Kinda like those few seeds that fell on fertile soil, no?
© Buzz Dixon