Popular culture. It’s all around us. Christians debate whether popular culture is mostly good, mostly bad, or else kind of pointless. But why haven’t we been asking the hidden big question: what is the point of popular culture in God’s universe anyway?
Introducing The Pop Culture Parent
Parents often feel at a loss with popular culture and how it fits in with their families. They want to love their children well, but it can be overwhelming to navigate the murky waters of television, movies, games, and more that their kids are exposed to every day.
Popular culture doesn’t have to be a burden. The Pop Culture Parent equips mothers, fathers, and guardians to build relationships with their children by entering into their popular culture–informed worlds, understanding them biblically, and passing on wisdom.
This resource by authors Jared Moore, E. Stephen Burnett, and Ted Turnau provides Scripture-based, practical help for parents to enjoy the messy gift of popular culture with their kids.
By engaging with their children’s interests, parents can explore culture while teaching their children to become missionaries in a post-Christian world.
By providing realistic yet biblical encouragement for parents, the coauthors guide readers to engage with popular culture through a gospel lens, helping them teach their kids to understand and answer the challenges raised by popular culture.
The Pop Culture Parent helps the next generation of evangelicals move beyond a posture of cultural ignorance to one of cultural engagement, building grace-oriented disciples and cultural missionaries.
About the authors
Ted Turnau teaches culture, religion, and media studies at Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic. He has a PhD from Westminster in apologetics and wrote Popologetics (2012) to help Christians engage popular culture. Ted Turnau authored The Pop Culture Parent. He and Carolyn have three grown children. Ted enjoys jazz and blues, movies, games, and Japanese culture.
E. Stephen Burnett explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as publisher of Lorehaven Magazine and cohost of the Fantastical Truth podcast. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. E. Stephen Burnett authored The Pop Culture Parent. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin, Texas area, and serve as church members and foster parents.
Jared Moore serves in pastoral ministry. He has a PhD in systematic theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and cohosts The Pop Culture Coram Deo Podcast. Jared also served as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He authored The Pop Culture Parent. He and his wife, Amber, and their four children enjoy popular culture together.
Quotes and notes
In The Pop Culture Parent we use this quote from Tim Keller:
Culture is the shared beliefs and values, the shared conventions and social practices of a subgroup or an entire society in which we are taking all the raw materials [of creation], everything in life, and rearranging it in order to express meaning, in order to express what we think is the good, the true, the real, and the important.
And in the book we ourselves define popular culture this way:
Popular culture is a subsection of culture. As we use the term, it is a type of artistic expression. Art is the part of culture humans most directly use to engage with questions of meaning.
When we think of art, we usually imagine symphony halls or museums. These kinds of spaces can be called “elite culture.” Popular culture is simply art that occupies common spaces such as streaming television, musical artists and bands, the internet, and comic book stores. These things give us art with easy access—expressions of the human heart that everyone can reach. . . .
That’s a solid sociological definition. However, we also need to show how culture, especially popular culture, fits into gospel history. For Christian parents, we must see how these stories, songs, images, and games are not only things humans made up. They are also a gift God has given us. He wants us to make and enjoy culture. Making these things is an essential part of being human—part of God’s will for us on earth.
Here’s a fantasy for middle-grade readers: Legend of the Storm Sneezer, from author Kristiana Sfirlea. Monster Ivy Publishing says this is “for fans of Doctor Who and the darkly whimsical.”
13-year-old Rose Skylar (rose SKY-ler) sneezed a magical storm cloud at birth, and it’s followed her around ever since. But when Stormy causes too many disasters, Rose is taken to an asylum for unstable magic in a haunted forest whose trees have turned to stone. Guided by time traveling letters, Rose teams up with her future selves and her (maybe) imaginary best friend to save her storm cloud and solve the mystery of the specters and the stone trees.
But will they find what killed the ghosts before what killed the ghosts finds them?
Next on Fantastical Truth
Christians often respond to culture as if it’s “mostly bad” or “mostly good.” This can leave children confused. Instead, what five questions might help us better engage popular culture for God’s glory?
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.