Friday, March 14, 2008

Response to Joe's Blog

Joe wrote:

"The church cannot remain in a bubble and ignore how the world has and is working. Too often, I believe the church tries to create Christian alternatives to culture, rather than embracing popular culture. And more often than not, the Christian product is crap. Christian media tries to package the crap to make it look and sound the same, but in the end it's still crap. You can't polish a turd."

My response:

I'm all for getting outside of the bubble...bursting the bubble...however you want to lay it down...

However, what about those within the church that endorse what you refer to as a 'turd'? I just don't think you can tell people it's crap...because for them it might speak truth...So while my personal tastes don't fall in line with the "christian alternative" I think we still have to figure out how to keep the conversation in's not going to go away...there will be people that endorse and push the Christian alternative in music for years and years to come...the Fish or whatever that radio station is called is going to be pumpin' out the Christian hits and it's going to impact certain people and speak truth to them and their situation...even though you and I might have a hard time understanding how that works! So, I hear you but I don't think a hard line response is the answer as I think we risk offending some folks in an area where it's probably not worth offending them in...I think we're to be bold but in my mind this isn't an area where we want to go to battle. It's kind of like we're fighting over what style has more relevance or is more capable of revelation or is a better tool and the answer is both.

Loved the fistpumps site btw.

Week 9, Wednesday Final Class

As I sat in class today I really thought about how this cultural model engages with us as individuals and as a larger community. I think we have a real duty to explain to the youth culture and unmask the powers that control what we get to watch and buy. While I don't believe I would subscribe to avoidance and telling people, "don't watch this." I do think that we need to raise awareness. I don't believe that the average adult could name the Big 5 or know how they're inter-related. Yet, it's important to understand the synergy type mindset that big businesses create so that we can unmask the powers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Week 9, Cobb Chapter 9, Life Everlasting

I responded to Cobb's closing comments in this chapter:

"Most of these eschatological experiments in popular culture suggest a happier realm to come, but they also prompt us, each in its own way, to clarify what matters to us in the present, and to consider what ways of life might be better than others. This is a welcome use of popular culture."

I think that Cobb makes some good points in this chapter about how a focus on eschatology is important...especially when we see how this is reflected in popular culture. He does a good job of setting up how eschatology is more of a recent popular culture phenomena and I appreciated his comments on the origins of purgatory and how that plays out in secular film. I think that many of these apocalyptic films, Independence Day, What Dreams May Come, Terminator, capture the consequences of our human sin...apocalypse now! But the eschatology in some of these films isn't always fully realized or dealt with...I think that if they do one thing well, they get us thinking about the potential consequences of human sin and they create a dialogue about what happens next.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Class Monday - Frontline Merchants of Cool

Production, Text, Consumption, Everyday Life. The systematic rebellious nature of teen culture and how it fits into the overall scheme of selling cool. It is interesting to see how the relationship is changing with consumers and producers. The ways in which social networking is taking over and changing the way we communicate. I like what Bolger says in terms of part of the role of the church is to unmask the powers.

Week 9, Bevans Chapter 9, Countercultural Model

The countercultural model takes experience, culture, social location, and social change into account when determining its presentation of the Gospel. According to Bevans' understanding of the countercultural model, if the Gospel is to be presented, it must be done, "in the language of those to whom it is addressed and has to be clothed in symbols which are meaningful to them." Honestly, at this point I've heard of so many models from Bevans that my brain is pretty fried and I'm not sure I can tell what all the differences are anymore. I think what is clear is that there is no one way to do practice contextual theology...I'm still most comfortable with the translational model.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Response to Todd's blog Week 9 Wednesday Reflection

Todd wrote:

"There is so much I would like to say about our discussion today. I’m convinced that studying youth culture is one of the most important things churches can do today. Not only because we need to speak effectively to youth but because their lifestyles become the lifestyles of our young adults, then our middle-agers, then our elderly. Marketing is a fact of life that we cannot ignore."

Chris writes:

I don't think you'll find much argument here Todd. But should we differentiate when we look at marketing? Is there a difference when it's a product that is being thrown at us vs. news media and even the church? I would argue that your average American youth realizes that they're being marketed in point the Sprite campaign that deconstructed the athlete as spokesman telling kids not to buy the drink because a pro athlete drinks I think we could agree that the general public and youth recognize that they're being marketed to...what I think is more deceitful and clandestine is how the news media and many might argue churches compromises their message to fit the ideals and needs of their particular demographic...I think the news media and the church are more subtle and perhaps less suspected of using manipulative marketing since they adhere to "the truth" vs. selling a product.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Week 8, Wednesday

I really enjoyed the discussion today. I think the production, texts, audiences, and everyday life circuit of culture model is very relevant. As we discussed how this relates to businesses and corporations targeting youth it raised some larger questions with me...I have less of a problem with businesses targeting youth and more of a problem with the beholden nature of big business. Specifically, how this might be reflected in the way we receive our news. How can we really have a free press when the stories are beholden to a larger corporation? If we're to apply this to a church model, when churches embrace the large corporate structure are they in danger of becoming overly beholden to the shareholders i.e. the deacons, elders, or congregation. Is there the freedom to proclaim the truth or do we risk watering everything down at the risk of offending the shareholders? I would argue that both the news media and church structures have to be held to a different standard. Perhaps there needs to be a regulatory force that can step in an enforce these untruths when they occur?