Tag Archives: religion

Evangelicalism’s odd dance with pop culture

From Slate and their review of Daniel Radosh’s new book, Rapture Ready!

At some point, Radosh asks the obvious question: Didn’t Jesus chase the money changers out of the temple? In other words, isn’t there something wrong with so thoroughly commercializing all aspects of faith? For this, the Christian pop-culture industry has a ready answer. Evangelizing and commercializing have much in common. In the “spiritual marketplace” (as it’s called), Christianity is a brand that seeks to dominate. Like Coke, it wants to hold onto its followers and also win over new converts. As with advertisers, the most important audience is young people and teenagers, who are generally brand loyalists. Hence, Bibleman and Christian rock are the spiritual equivalent of New Coke. Christian trinkets—a WWJD bracelet, a “God is my DJ” T-shirt—function more like Coca-Cola T-shirts or those cute stuffed polar bears. They telegraph to the community that the wearer is a proud Christian and that this is a cool thing to be—which should, in theory, invite eager curiosity.

Straightforward, if somewhat crude, merchandizing so far. But there is also another level of questions, which the creators of Christian culture have a much harder time answering: What does commercializing do to the substance of belief, and what does an infusion of belief do to the product? When you make loving Christ sound just like loving your boyfriend, you can do damage to both your faith and your ballad. That’s true when you create a sanitized version of bands like Nirvana or artists like Jay-Z, too: You shoehorn a message that’s essentially about obeying authority into a genre that’s rebellious and nihilistic, and the result can be ugly, fake, or just limp.


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Soularize + 1 :: Father Richard Rohr

I am spending the day at a private home in the Bahamas with the lads from the Soularize HQ, Father Richard Rohr, and other invited friends and guests for a workshop and day of learning. (Todd has some photos)

Before that Todd, Jim, and I managed to escape to downtown Nassau for some touristy sightseeing and buy Nassau branded things made in China.  While I was downtown, I saw the ugliest shirt while in a market.  The storekeeper saw me and grabbed my arm and she told me I needed it.  After saying it was something that a crazy member of royalty would wear, she named me Earl of Nassau III.  We weren’t sure that she was able to bestow me that honor but I did get a good deal on the ugliest shirt on the planet.  How ugly was it?  When I put it on, a couple of guys had seizures, three whales beached themselves, and one container transport ship set itself on fire.  It isn’t so much a shirt but a weapon of violence.

After wolfing down some food, we ended up on the other side of the island in the same gated community as Sean Connery (he lives across the street) and am listening to Father Richard Rohr who is talking about…

  • You can be an extrovert and be a contemplative.  It is about controlling your chatter.  The mind is only capable about reprocessing the past and worrying about the future.  The mind can not be present and this is a substitute for life.

Father Richard talked a little longer and then we were set out to find a quiet spot for a while to listen to God and quiet the chatter.  More about that later.  More Father Richard

  • When you don’t have an experiential faith, you rely on dogma.
  • 83% of human thought is repetitive and useless.  We have compulsive addictive ways of capturing reality (the Enneagram helps one realize this – I am a Type 5)
  • Romans 8:16
  • We have to detach and go to a new place to abide to observe ourselves and discern our patterns.  This is deeply humiliating and most people stop.
  • Small minds can’t see anything because they are too self absorbed.
  • Liberal politicians is not that much different that conservative politicians – it is still all about winning and still about their ego.
  • Contemplation should not be taught to monks if they are still slamming doors – Thomas Merton
  • The ego is the unobserved self
  • Any addiction (good or bad) is horrible for you.
  • Contemplation teaches you to be a holding cylinder and not an exhaust valve.  Hold on and learn from it.
  • Judgmental mind is not seeking truth but rather seeking control.
  • Most Christians are split people.  Torn internally.
  • Father Rohr gave me a handout that I need to post later – Jordon
  • Merton told his own community because he said, “You aren’t contemplatives, just introverts”