Faith and Culture

So how should a Christian engage media?

It would seem like my parent’s generation (and my peers suitably affected by them) think that secular culture is something to be avoided at all costs. Secular = bad, Christian = good, essentially. If you can avoid all things secular by inundating your life with Bible camp, Vacation Bible School, Bible actions figures, Jesus pins, Focus on the Family, and youth group activities, you’ll turn out just fine. Oh, and if you’re have to engage the arts, make sure you’re doing special music at church or performing skits at VBS! It is this world of cheesy Christian music and canned Bible stories from which brave Christians head out to the world to make a difference in secular media. They proceed to make a mockery of themselves, and then – in the worst situations – blame their failures on an audience “that wasn’t receptive” to their Christian message.

Modern Christians have only remotely left their mark in the music industry, but almost exclusively to their Christian audiences. While they might produce good, successful music, they’re not really engaging the culture around them – only pandering to their existing subculture. What about those who weren’t raised in your little closed-circuit Christian community? They’re most certainly not getting the message.

Many Christians forget that Christianity at its formation was not a conservative movement. It was highly counter-cultural and was heavily invested in creating culture rather than hiding from it. Christianity gained its foothold in the world not through shoddy imitations of what was around them, but through creating a new, invigorated culture that was entirely unique.