The Christian Evasion of Popular Culture

That’s the name of an academic conference at Dordt College next fall at which Andy Root, Peter Rollins, and I will be plenary speakers. They’ve opened a call for papers, so if this is your thing, you should consider it.

Here’s the description of the conference:

Christianity is often the focus of popular culture, whether it is through the blood and gore of The Passion of the Christ, the satire of South Park and Family Guy, or exposés of Jesus Camp or Religulous.

The Christian community tends to respond by either ignoring popular culture or critiquing it moralistically through discussion about popular culture, rather than reflecting on our inescapable existence within it. Even those Christian perspectives that emphasize cultural transformation have a dearth of positive engagement with contemporary manifestations of culture.

This tendency towards “evasion” forms a posture towards popular culture—we pray for it, we decry its excesses—that is at odds with the reality of our being immersed within popular culture: From food to fashion, guitars to guns, and pipe organs to orbiting telecommunication satellites. Every square inch of our lives is saturated by patterns and expressions of popular culture.

To make culture is an inextricable part of our human identity that has too often been ignored within the Christian tradition.

This conference, which will take place at Dordt College on November 1–3, 2012, will explore the Christian tendency to “evade” popular culture. Speakers and presenters will seek answers to questions like: Is it possible to be in the world but not of the world? How can the Christian community sustain the impulse of reformation with regard to the social and cultural aspects of human life? What are the implications of the Christian faith and the hope for “new creation” with regard to the human proclivity to make culture?

via Conference 2012.

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