April 26, 2013
Some evangelicals struggle over popular culture in light of their Christian faith
Those of us who have spent any time within some segments of evangelicalism know that many Christians feel great anxiety over how to be “in the world and not of the world” and how to “abstain from all appearance of evil” —especially when it comes to relating to the surrounding culture. In an article for Patrol magazine, Jonathan D. Fitzgerald talks about the struggles some evangelical adults experience in deciding, for example, whether or not it’s permissible to see an R-rated movie. He believes that “evangelicals have to stop stunting their intellectual and spiritual maturity by sheltering themselves from bad words, fake blood, and the tantalizing sight of skin.” Having heard some of his friends speak of avoiding all R-rated movies, Fitzgerald points out that they “were also avoiding incredible and worthwhile depictions of the human condition.They were avoiding truth in the best way we know how to tell it — in stories. They were avoiding art.” He believes certain attitudes toward popular culture in its many varied forms have made evangelicals into “fearful and judgmental outsiders.” (If, after reading his article, you spend some time looking through the comments it elicited, you’ll see that such concerns are very real in the lives of many of those who responded.) Jonathan Fitzgerald is the editor of Patrol, which is described on its website as “a review of religion and the modern world,” and the author of Not Your Mother’s Morals: How the New Sincerity Is Changing Pop Culture for the Better. He also writes a column for the Patheos website.