It was a little hard for me to get back in the swing of things after winter break, which ended a while ago, and watching all of that free time slip through my fingers. I had making decisions about how to use the new, more minimal free time that I have once a semester starts.
Two of the biggest things I have to give up are T.V. shows and reading opportunities. But taking in so many shows, movies, books, and magazines over the break got me thinking… what exactly is popular culture trying to tell us?
We give up hours and hours of our time to watch our favorite shows, or to read the new popular novel, and I think it’s impossible to read or watch something without getting something from it (even if that “something” is annoyance or boredom).
My extensive show-watching and reading made me start wondering about how Christians and/or Christian principles are or are not portrayed in the media. Sometimes, I would be incredibly annoyed. Other times, I’d smile because someone seemed to finally get it right.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to write a series called “The Culture and the Christian” and just look at how, as Christians, we relate to the ever-accessible popular culture around us.
We’re told to be in the world, but not of it, though I don’t believe that exact saying is in the Bible. Rather, Jesus prayed about His disciples, “I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them form the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
Jesus came to this earth with a very specific purpose, and we too have a purpose- to glorify God and to radiate His Son.
Still, we’re in this very awkward spot. We’re in the world, but not of it.
It’s like when you go someplace that you know you just don’t belong, but you have to be there. It’s sort of like a younger sibling’s birthday party. You’re at home because you couldn’t make any other plans, but you are definitely not into the conversations that you had years ago when you were that age, simply because you’re not of one mind with that lifestyle and those people anymore. You’re in the gathering, but not an engaged, belonging part of it.
The wonderful C.S. Lewis once wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
As Christians, we, quite frankly, are not (or should not be) of one mind with the rest of each world. While they’re focused on achieving other goals, noble as they may be, we’re specifically charged to love and bring glory to God. Our entire purpose- our greatest desire- is different.
The next few weeks aren’t meant to be about insulting popular culture- there’s definitely some aspects of it that I enjoy and I think that you can learn a lot from different movies and shows, though not all of them are necessarily worth watching.
What I do hope the next few weeks will be about is exploring how popular culture impacts us as Christians and how we should react as people in the world, but not of it.
Let me know what you think!