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on 30 May 2004
The various chapters set out different areas of popular culture to be examined with a Christian concern running. However it is not a simplistic kind of concern which is about identifying popular culture as a realm of evils to be exposed and denounced but rather as an arena where God-given desires and perhaps even the pull of the Holy Spirit are at work along with fallen-ness.
The tools of cultural analysis are well used and show a sympathetic account of how positive and Gospelly things can be found in various areas of popular culture. Sometimes these analyses issue in suggestions of threads that Christians might want to pick and trace along in engaging with popular culture. Sometimes we are given insights into the internal logic of the things looked at.
The authors write knowledgeably about their subjects and show an astute understanding of culture which is both appreciative and yet able to be critical. The critiques are, however, not shallow and dismissive.
I would like to have been able to push the authors to analyze a little more; from time to time I felt that the analysis was good but felt as if it was going nowhere very much in terms of uncovering gospel linkages. sometimes I think I would have liked more that could have helped me to unpack popular culture into worship, outreach and discipleship. However, it does give the tools to think through the issues and I think to make a constructive engagement with culture which honours that of God in popular culture; and that is a very important contribution especially to the USAmerican Christian engagement with culture.
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