What is pop culture?
That’s the one question I’ve always wanted to get a definitive answer to in all of my adult life. Well, I believe I have found a book that attempts to give me that answer.
All God’s Children & Blue Suede Shoes by Ken Myers explores the relationship between Christians and Popular Culture. I heard the author on Christian Radio last year talking about the re-issue of his book. It was first published in 1989 and the re-issue got a new cover (see above) and a new introduction by the author.
“My answer to the question about Christian involvement with popular culture is essentially the same. You can enjoy popular culture without compromising Biblical principles as long as you are not dominated by the sensibility of popular culture, as long as you are not captivated by its idols.”
That quote sums up the author’s answer on how Christians should deal with the omnipresence of popular culture. Myers examines the historical lineage of popular culture from its roots in Romanticism of the mid 19th century and how it came into full bloom in the 1960s.
Myers explains how Christianity and Popular Culture have always been at odds with each other because one side believes in history, tradition, and the eternal things of life. While the other side believes in the present, always looking the next thing, and focuses on self-fulfillment.
However, the author doesn’t take the easy route and totally bashes popular culture as one would expect from a book like this. Myers does warn how much popular culture has affected the church and how modern evangelicalism has a symbiotic relationship with it unfortunately.
As previously mentioned, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes was published in 1989, Myers ends the book with the pernicious effect of television but doesn’t address how social media and the internet have taken over television’s role in pop culture. Because of that, the book does feel dated and out-of-step with the 21st century. Nevertheless, the best books still have timeless principles to reflect on and can always be read even if the culture has progressed from when it was published.
In closing, I believe in reading All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes, I have gotten as close to a definitive answer to what is popular culture that I’m going to get. Because of that, I’m truly grateful and will wholeheartedly recommend this book to those who want to know how to live in a world where popular culture dominates every aspect of our lives.