The Day Community Came Back

On Sunday, God flipped a switch in Louisville. It was a single switch with two results: electricity turned off, and community turned on. As you may have heard, Hurricane Ike meandered its way to Louisville, Kentucky and took out 60% of the city’s electricity, effectively rendering its inhabitants utterly devoid of television, video games, and computers. Instead, everyone went outside and played on an uprooted tree (I’ll have a great story about that tree in the comments sometime soon), discussed the weather, and enjoyed one anothers company. When pop culture disappeared from our lives, what appeared in its place was one another. It simply ought not to be this way.

Christians are meant to partake in pop culture in an altogether different way than the world, and this doesn’t mean we avoid rated R movies. Jesus had something specific in mind when it came to the defining mark of the ones who believed in Him: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) This mark doesn’t merely apply to our church-life and charity priorities. It applies equally to the way we relate to and enjoy popular culture. 

Christians in this culture are much too susceptible to the tendency to forget this mark when we leave our local church building. All sorts of areas are affected by this tendency, and our consumption of various types of popular media is primary in this failure. 

It is often seen as normal to read, watch or play alone. Many of us have “guilty pleasures” that we often refrain from bringing up around others. We view television shows and films as not quite important enough to talk purposefully about with fellow Christians. When it comes to pop culture, the church as a whole seems to have adopted the attitude that our choices and media related experiences are “between me and God.” 

We were not created for island living, and we were not created to keep certain aspects of our life partitioned off from the church. Accountability, encouragement and openness should be values that affect the way we approach film, television, video games, comic books and any other form of popular culture.

Electricity didn’t just switch back on in Louisville, Kentucky. It came back in waves. Sections of the city were fixed one by one, giving the opportunity for something miraculous to happen. People invited one another over (and some invited themselves) to enjoy video games, movies, and to use their internet. And they felt kind of bad about just using one another for their stuff, so they talked, and often they talked about what they were experiencing together. And with that, the switch was split into to, and at least for a while, both of them were set to “on”.

About Richard Clark

Richard H. Clark is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Christ and Pop Culture. He has a Master of Arts in Theology and the Arts from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Louisville, Ky. He is also the managing editor of Gamechurch and a freelance writer for Unwinnable, Paste, and other outlets.
E-mail: clarkrichardh [at] gmail [dot] com.
Twitter: @deadyetliving

  • Carissa

    Wait, where’s the Juno story promised in the tagline? And I want to hear the tree tale too.

  • http://www.christandpopculture.com/ Richard Clark

    Sorry, that tagline was more confusing than I meant for it to be. Changed it.

    As for the tree tale: I had just moved my car so as to avoid any fleeing limbs and went inside when I realized I had forgotten to move my truck, which was also in danger of random limbs falling on it.

    As I ran toward the truck I felt the wind picking up quite a bit so I ran to the other side of the street, figuring the limbs wouldn’t quite make it that far.

    Much to my surprise, I felt a limb hit me in the back, then another, heavier limb forced me down into a fetal position. By the time I was all the way down I realized it was a pretty big limb. When I stood up and looked around, I found myself surrounded by a giant oak tree that was uprooted.

    What was really cool was that I got to climb out of the tree and yell to my wife and neighbors, “I just got hit by that tree!” It was pretty sweet but my wife was totally freaked out.


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