Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Abstinence, Indulgence, and Speaking the Lizingua Francizzle

Well, I'm a bit bored with Sam Harris, and if the dearth of interaction is any indication, so are you. Ever the one to chameleonically adapt to the whims of the people, I'll take an open-ended haitus from dissecting Letter to a Christian Nation and turn our attention to something that our Friday Features have got me thinking about.

Let's talk about the Christian and pop culture.

There are a few schools of thought with respect to this issue. There are those who see no middle ground between abstinence and abuse. For these folks, any indulgence in secular culture, be it film, television, or music, is threatening and potentially harmful to one's spiritual life. Curiously, this rarely applies to non-Christian books (provided they're old) or sports. But I digress....

Others embrace the whole pop culture thing, often under the guise of what they call "incarnationalism" or "contextualization." By this they mean that since Jesus embodied the gospel in a form that his people could relate to and understand (i.e., that of a Jewish man), we must follow his lead and seek to speak to our culture in its own lingua franca and with its own adopted forms. As long as they're white.

Still others either refrain from pop culture for non-spiritual reasons such as taste, time, or lack of interest, or engage in it for equally non-spiritual reasons such as, well, liking it.

What do you think? Is "this much" too much, or is "too much never enough"? Are certain media acceptable while others out of bounds? How may one's engagement in pop culture, or lack thereof, benefit/harm his spiritual life? Are there discernable and/or distinct trends among evangelicals and the Reformed?

And can we ignore the role our eschatology plays in all this?