This author says evangelicals are “babies” when it comes to pop culture

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.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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