Jimmy: Why do so many people seem to be concerned about pop culture?
TM: Probably because they perceive pop culture as subversive of traditional values and a serious outlook on life. While I wouldn’t agree with that assessment – at least not entirely – I think there is some truth to it. However, since as Christians we can’t avoid pop culture, we need to be able to deal with it in a manner consistent with our Biblical worldview.
Jimmy: Should a Christian approach to popular culture differ from the way other people approach it?
TM: Yes, very much so. I would say that our approach to pop culture should be similar to our approach to everything else in life: a Kingdom approach that is consistent with our Kingdom calling as followers of Christ.
Jimmy: Before we talk about that, explain what you mean by our “kingdom calling”.
TM: Instead of thinking about our discipleship in purely individualistic terms – what the Gospel does for me, for instance – Christians need to realize we are called to the experience and advancement of the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom is a unique sphere of existence, with a destiny, character, and daily outworking that are determined by God’s glorious plan for His creatures.
Jimmy: How should this kingdom calling inform our approach to pop culture as youth workers and parents?
TM: Well, if, as the Scriptures teach, the Kingdom of God is unfolding around us, exerting violence, as Jesus put it (Mt. 11.12) against the existing domains, whatever they may be, then we should expect that Kingdom to have transforming effects on everything in its path. We are the citizens of that Kingdom, and we bear it violently against the powers and principalities – spiritual and human – that we encounter around us. We should therefore expect that our Kingdom experience will transform all we touch according to the glorious plan and purposes of God. But unless we learn to think like Kingdom people, live like Kingdom people, and pursue the Kingdom as our first priority in every area of our lives – including our involvement with pop culture – then we will never realize the full and abundant life Christ has promised us, nor will we turn the world upside-down for Him.
To be continued…