How Christ and Pop Culture Serves the Church

How Christ and Pop Culture Serves the Church January 6, 2014

Christ and Pop Culture regularly finds itself in an unpopular position, receiving criticism from conservative evangelicals one day and from liberal evangelicals the next. We try to consider each critique and weigh its merits without overwhelming ourselves with the never-ceasing criticism of internet culture. And we do this not because we want our readers to love us, but because we love our readers.

A few readers have complained about a perceived anti-conservative bias on our site, or that we are too sympathetic to liberals and secularists. Among the specific claims are that we are too critical of conservatives, we are too concerned with appeasing the left, we are condescending to conservatives, we trivialize the persecution of Christians by secularists, we purposefully take the middle ground on every issue in order to avoid taking a stand, we nitpick fellow believers, and that we are intellectual elitists drunk on meaningless “nuance.”

Our desire is to edify the Church and witness to the world through thoughtful, biblical, winsome, truthful cultural criticism. We believe the right way to accomplish this is to give our readers what we believe will edify them, and not necessarily what will please them, or what they want. The purpose behind writing a critical review of Rachel Held Evans’ latest book is not to score Reformed Evangelical Points. We don’t call out WORLD Magazine out for recommending books by an infamous anti-Muslim pundit to score Post-Evangelical Points. We do these things because we sincerely believe that we are speaking the truth in love for the Church’s benefit.

Our hope is that if someone who disagreed with us read one of our articles, they would be inclined to give our argument a fair consideration and even be persuaded by it. That might sound obvious, but if you look around carefully, you’ll find that most arguments in American culture are not written with the antagonist’s good in mind. Instead, our culture tends to produce texts that reinforce and justify the reader’s prior beliefs.

We at CaPC spend a lot of time and energy thinking about our rhetoric and our audience. The truth and the Gospel will offend people, but it does not need our help in doing so. If there are barriers to the truth which we can remove without sacrificing beauty, goodness, or truth, then we want to do so.

This means that when we talk about issues related to homosexuality or abortion, we don’t use bombastic rhetoric. That costs us. But we are also very clear on where we stand on such issues. We aren’t going to use hyperbolic, unloving, and unhelpful language. We’re going to stand firmly for the truth, but we aren’t necessarily going to stand firmly for inessential language, arguments, ideas, or movements.

Similarly, we aren’t going to intentionally gloss over some significant issue merely because it might cast people or ideas or movements we appreciate or identify with in a negative light. Neither are we going to intentionally throw someone under the bus to look cool to progressives or conservatives.

In pursuit of this purpose, we have sought writers with a variety of political, theological, and personal perspectives. All our staff writers adhere to basic orthodoxy, but within that orthodoxy we have differences. We try to balance each other and provide a broad perspective.

It is probably true that Christ and Pop Culture is quicker to criticize a conservative or an evangelical than a political or theological liberal. The reason for this is that we and our audience are conservative evangelicals. We criticize because we love; because it really is loving to chastise someone you love. We feel a much greater obligation to those within our community to edify, exhort, and reprove them when necessary. If a stranger lies to a stranger, I have little obligation to confront him. But if a brother lies to a brother, it hurts me, my family, and my community.

These ideals all sound fine and good, but let’s be honest: CaPC doesn’t always live up to these standards. Like other publications, sometimes we are wrong, mistaken, or ignorant. When that happens, please feel free to tell us. Let us know in a way that will invite us to see your perspective and the error in our ways. We’ll do our best to listen and weigh your words. We are excited about the future of CaPC and committed to these standards. We understand that they are lofty goals which we will often fail to meet, but we also believe that this is how we we can best serve the church.

photo credit: turkeychik via photopin cc

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