i’m a pop culture junkie. i love it. i read through the “web culture” board on flipboard every morning while eating breakfast. the buzz feed app is one of my favorite apps. my radio is set to the local pop music station. i dvr, on average, 6-8 tv shows each week throughout the year. i constantly make music and tv references in every day conversation.
i ooze pop culture.
whether you know it or not, you do too.
we’re living in the most connected world of all time.
a couple of weeks ago i drove to atlanta and back in a day. when i first started driving ten years ago (yes, i’m still a baby), i either listened to the radio or the cds that i had in my car. there weren’t many choices of what to do to be entertained in the car. on this drive to atlanta, i had access to any song that i could possibly want through spotify on my phone. when i got tired of that, i had espn radio on my phone. to go one step further, when i stopped for lunch on the drive, i was actually able to watch sportscenter on my phone while sitting in a chick fil a parking lot. the only reason i chose sportscenter over netflix or hulu plus is because i didn’t have enough time to watch an entire show.
pop culture is all around us.
the thing about pop culture is that it shapes and forms what we believe about the world. it’s a slow process but it happens. the language that is used in movies starts to creep into our every day language. i’m not even talking about explicit language or anything like that. do you remember the movie clueless? it was about a popular girl who spends her days playing matchmaker, helping friends with fashion choices, advising the new girl at school on a makeover, and looking for a boyfriend (thanks imdb). the writers of clueless invented an entirely new language for the movie. phrases like “going postal” or “as if” weren’t used before that movie came out. they’re not used much anymore but in the late 90’s, those were phrases you heard everywhere.
i could bring up examples from pop culture today. the word legendary is used to describe things thanks to barney stinson on how i met your mother. there are god only knows how many twitter accounts quoting movies like mean girls. you can’t go anywhere during december without people quoting elf when talking about christmas.
i’ll take it a step further. in february of 2000, the lead singer from r&b group dru hill released his first single as a solo artist. the singer went by the name of sisqo and the song was called “thong song.” it was a gigantic hit. sisqo was everywhere and the song was even more places. it became the #1 hip hop song in america and reached #3 on the billboard hot 100. before that song came out, anything having to do with the thong was controversial. from monica lewinsky to gwen stefani, the only time it was ever mentioned was by someone trying to be noticed. after the song came out, talking about women’s underwear in public became the norm. a piece of pop culture took something that was reserved for private and often time intimate use and made it public, enticing, and normal.
pop culture preaches the gospel.
the gospel is simply defined as something regarded as true and implicitly believed. as a christian, the gospel that i believe and abide by is the gospel of jesus. for most people, the gospel they live by is the gospel of pop culture.
it’s the gospel of the internet.
or the gospel of hollywood.
or the gospel of fashion.
or the gospel of pop radio.
or the gospel of _______.
for months i’ve had this feeling that at some point, someone is going to come out and begin to talk about pop culture in a new way. instead of solely condemning it and talking about all of the problems with it, they would begin to break it down and pull out the parts that are right and true and good but also expose the parts that are wrong. i didn’t know who that person would be or where they’d come from, but i knew that it’s something that we needed.
instead of waiting for that person to show up, i want to be that guy. i’m not the smartest person in the world and there are certainly people who are much smarter theologically than i am, but everything has to start somewhere. we live in a world that is influenced by pop culture almost every minute of every day and as christians, we have to examine things from a biblical worldview and not just a pop culture worldview. believe it or not, pop culture parallels the gospel of jesus more times than you’d think. at the same time, it contradicts the gospel of jesus more times than you’d think.
starting tomorrow, my goal is to write at least one post each week in a series called “the gospel according to…” each post will look at a different piece of pop culture whether it be a song, a movie, social media, or whatever. hopefully you’ll join me each week.
we can run from pop culture or we can leverage it. in the bible, guys like jesus and paul chose to leverage it. if it worked for them, i think it can work for us.
changing the world has to start somewhere.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.