“Pop Culture is everywhere. You can attempt to avoid it, but even if you succeeded, those around you are immersed in it.”
At least that is what the first line of our “about” page reads–in many ways CaPC is a testimony to the Christian responsibility to live in the world but not be of it. We don’t pretend to be unaware of pop culture because it is the world we live in, a world full people whose most desperate need is to come into relationship with the God who made them. Ignoring pop culture would be irresponsible at best and unloving toward the people who make up our culture at worst (there is an inherent responsibility to understand the people whom we seek to reach with the gospel). Certainly it is possible for Christians to become enamored with pop culture in unhealthy ways, but this isn’t unique to pop culture.
The great temptation of life is to worship creation rather than the creator who is blessed forever (Rom. 1:25). At the very center of human fallen nature is the desire to make things ultimate in our affections that were never meant to be ultimate–that is idolatry 101 and the human heart is capable of making an idol out of just about anything. Most of our idols are rather self-seeking, and pop culture particularly feeds this impulse (i.e. the allure of fame, sex, and money). So how do we exist in the midst of all this pop culture in a kingdom-minded way? In large part, that is what this website is all about. How can we live faithfully for Christ in a world immersed in pop culture?
Perhaps one way that we can move toward faithful engagement of pop culture without falling into unhealthy worship of it is to consider one of the most commonly neglected commandments of our Lord–“remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). Of course this brings up a host of questions: what is the Christian’s relationship to the Old Testament Law? What is the relationship between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in Christ? Is the Christian responsible to keep the Sabbath? When should the Sabbath be honored–Saturday or Sunday, the Lord’s Day?
All of those questions are worth asking, however, I won’t pretend to be able to address each of them sufficiently. I will, however, say that I believe there is divine wisdom behind all of God’s commandments and the Sabbath was obviously an important command that guided Israel’s worship of God. So no matter what your position on the Sabbath (or Lord’s Day), there is a principle in the Sabbath which ought to inform our worship of God. Assuming the principle of keeping the Sabbath is normative for the Christian, how should we interact with pop culture on the Sabbath (or at least some weekly period of rest and spiritual focus)? Should we interact with it any differently than we do the other 6 days of the week? Certainly, while in our earthly bodies, it is impossible to escape our culture altogether, but is there value in resting from aspects of the culture we are immersed in? Is it worth resting from pop culture at times to focus on the culture that has come but is not yet consummated?
To put it more bluntly, should we turn off xBox, the computer, and the television once a week in honor of the Sabbath? Is it possible to interact with pop culture in healthy and perhaps even edifying ways that might aid us in more faithfully honoring the Sabbath and thus growing in intimacy with God in the world He created? I certainly believe there is a way to play xBox and watch movies to the glory of God, but should the Sabbath change the way we interact with pop culture?
I won’t pretend this is an easy question, but I do think there is tremendous value in asking it. What do you think? Do you attempt to engage pop culture, media, etc., in a different way on the Lord’s Day? In a post to follow I will explain why I believe the Lord gave us the Sabbath and how that influences our interaction with pop culture. In the meantime feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts on Sabbath and the potential of rest from pop culture.