Thursday, May 19, 2005

Christians, Character, and the Medium of Pop Culture

Ken Myers, who comes from the Marshall McLuhan school of The Medium Is the Message, makes a helpful clarification about why Christians should be cautious of pop culture. It's not for the main reasons that we hear:

Christians [commonly] worry that the content of popular culture will encourage certain behavior (e.g., disrespect to parents, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, proclivity to violence, etc.). While these are obviously legitimate concerns, what should attract more attention is the effect of consistent exposure to popular culture, whether or not the content is objectionable, on the development of internal dispositions. The habits of mind, heart, and soul—in short the qualities of character—that are encouraged or discouraged by the aesthetic dynamics of our cultural activities are at least as important to Christian reflection on culture as are social considerations. After all, we believe that a person does what a person is, not the other way around—that who we are inside is ultimately more significant than who we are outside.

Ken Myers, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture, p. 76.