Episode 40

September 27, 2023


Should Christians Engage in Pop Culture? - Chris Rush

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
Should Christians Engage in Pop Culture? - Chris Rush
The Concerning Him Podcast
Should Christians Engage in Pop Culture? - Chris Rush

Sep 27 2023 | 00:43:29


Show Notes

Chris Rush joins Erik Rasmussen on the podcast to discuss if and how Christians should engage in pop culture.

Concerning Him - https://concerninghim.com/
Concerning Him Podcast - https://concerninghim.com/podcast/

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Concerning Him. An Emmaus podcast is a ministry of Emmaus Bible College. Concerning Him seeks to enrich Christians around the globe by educating and equipping them through various media. For more information about Emmaus, please visit Emmaus.edu. [00:00:21] Speaker B: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Concerning Hymn podcast. Today we are joined by Chris Rush. Welcome, Chris. [00:00:28] Speaker C: Hey, glad to be here. [00:00:29] Speaker B: Thanks, Chris. What's your official title here? I would just say English faculty. [00:00:34] Speaker C: Yeah, that's a good question. Right now I think it is, depending on how you talk to program Director for General Studies, as well as professor of Literature and Writing in the English Department, or the English Department, I guess you could say. [00:00:51] Speaker B: Okay, and how long have you been at Emmaus now? [00:00:54] Speaker C: So, yeah, this is the start of my 6th year here. A couple of them are a little fuzzy, of course, for everybody in the last couple of years, but yeah, I think this is year six. Start of year six. Yeah. [00:01:08] Speaker B: All right, well, and just getting started here, if you could kind of just walk us through when I was a student, you weren't teaching yet, I believe, or maybe you started right towards the end of my time here. But how the Lord led you in life to find yourself now here at teaching at Emmaus Bible College. [00:01:30] Speaker C: Yeah, my story is fairly distinct from a lot of them and sort of similar for many. Right. My dad has been working here for 40 years, so I grew up around here, certainly in the Dubuque area around Emmaus for sure not the general sort of faculty functions and picnics and church, things like that. Before Arborokes had its own building, we were on campus here at Emmaus for several years, so I grew up around here and with my dad working here, so fairly familiar with a number of the faculty. Emmaus graduates or Emmaus students were my youth group leaders and Sunday school teachers most of my maturing years. So fairly Emmaus centric sort of experience for a while. So went here and as a student full time for a couple of years. And then this was before we had the high school teacher education department aspect of that program. So I wanted to be an English teacher, so I went to Clark and was sort of worked out with Mrs. Rasmussen at the time. Well, your mom actually, you know her, and she was the register at the time. And we sort of worked out this plan so I could go to Clark full time and Emmaus full time and get a few degrees at the same time because each campus had different degrees that I was pursuing. And so we kind of partnered with them. I was sort of on campus for a while and then at home and around for the end of my Emmaus experience. Then in that time, of course, met my wife Amy, who's a graduate also of Emmaus, and we got married sort of at the tail end of my squeezing four years into five, going full time at Emmaus and Clark. So we moved away to Virginia for about 15 years, primarily to be close to her family. That's where her family was, and her mom was battling cancer at the time. So we wanted to be closer to her and to her side of the family for a while. So we stayed there working at Christian schools. Well, one main Christian school, Summit Christian Academy, for 15 years. And technically I'm still working for them, teaching their senior thesis class online. Because of the dual enrollment nature of that course, I had been even as a high school teacher, teaching college level courses for a while. And teaching at Emmaus was certainly always kind of a dream, in a sense, not really one that I had actively certainly if the opportunity arose, it'd be certainly great to come back to my family and Emmaus who had grown up and things like that. But we didn't want to force it or anything like that because we had been building a pretty we'd been both active in helping develop this Christian school in Virginia. When they hired me, there was effectively no English department. So I was able to do what most English majors dream about, actually not just get a job, but also to basically design the English curriculum myself with some guidance of general ACSI and other classical, um, sort of standards and syllabi and scope and sequence, things like that. And we're able to just all right, here's what what do you guys want to what do you want to do in English? And I said, all right, here's what we should do. And we sort of had the freedom there to design it and build it over a period of 15 years. But then the opportunity arose. When I was in Chaperoning, the seniors in Europe, my wife was over here teaching sort of J term or winder sort of two week course for the teacher department. She had done that for a couple of years, and while that was happening, Mr. Jimo and Dr. Beatty came to her while she was here saying, would you be interested in interviewing for potential be joining the teacher department full time? And so she said, sure. And I was in Germany at the time, and so while that happened, she got offered the job. And so I got a call on the other side of the planet saying, hey, what did you think about this? And by the way, the English teacher is also leaving, so there might be a role for both of us here. And that seemed like a good sort of sign in a sense, that now, since there's full time employment opportunities for both of us here. Plus, at the same time, tri State Christian School was moving from Glena to Dubuque, and it seemed like a lot of these factors were coming together and seemed like now is the time to come back and be involved in work at Emmaus. Working with my dad. Certainly enjoyable to be around him full time, where my family is and close to everybody here. So we did sort of long distance interviews with Dr. Beatty and Mr. Boom and all that. And so it worked out and came together. And so we've been here for five or six years. And then, of course, shortly after we got here, god had other plans, of course, for my wife to help take Tri State in new directions as they developed here as well. So it's fairly clear not the typical Emmaus experience, but like so many faculty, a graduate of Emmaus and enjoy it and know how special the place is and how much God works and cares about it, that seems it was like a great opportunity to come back and do it. [00:07:25] Speaker B: Well, we're glad to have you here. My side job for Emmaus is the assistant soccer coach, and both last year and this year comment from a lot of the freshmen is, oh, yeah, I've got that Mr. Rush for English. Comp. And I didn't think he'd be funny. [00:07:42] Speaker A: But he's so funny. [00:07:44] Speaker C: Yeah, that's been kind of one of my professional goals, is to make my classes worthwhile and enjoyable at the same time, like you're going to learn, but there's no reason it can't be painful and enjoyable we can sort of enjoy. Take a look at the lighter side. One of my favorite authors of the last couple of decades is Father James Shawl, who passed away about 2018 or so, maybe 20 2019, 2020, somewhere on there. And one of his most famous books is called on the Unseriousness of Human Affairs, saying that we as human beings often take ourselves too seriously. We do important things. And he certainly knows as a Jesuit Catholic priest, he knows that we're designed by God. We have spiritual components to us, and there's certainly an importance to us in reality. But humans don't have to exist. We exist because God loves and God created us. And we can certainly understand that we are part of his plan, for sure, but we need to not necessarily take everything we do so seriously. It's important, but we can still enjoy what we're doing at the same time, which certainly drives in sort of my fascination with pop culture and thinking the things that are fun in other aspects of society that may not always be considered. This is what polite high culture should be really about. It's like, well, if lots of people care about it and engage in these things, maybe they're important and we can understand them and talk about them and enjoy them in sort of redeeming ways as well. [00:09:28] Speaker B: And so that's a great transition there as we're talking today about Christians and engagement with pop culture of should Christians engage with pop culture? How do Christians engage with pop culture? I mean, I think there's a lot of people I think of, especially parents of thinking with my kids movies and video games and music and all of these things, and how much should there be engagement? Should there be engagement and all? Is it totally pulling ourselves away? But as we get into that, I know, you know, the history kind of on this pretty somewhat well, if I recall correctly, before the 19 hundreds, Christians had a huge at least in the west, christians had huge involvement in popular art. Is that correct? [00:10:16] Speaker C: Yeah, I think it's definitely you see a shift, really, this sort of dichotomy between high culture and pop culture is a fairly recent invention, really? Late 19th century, early 20th century. And it becomes kind of a weapon to separate social classes, especially with music and orchestral music and things like that, which had always been a common sort of local pop culture thing, especially the european tradition of just listening in salons, hanging out and listening to people play piano and sing arias and certainly going to full operas for centuries. But it was always a sort of communal social activity. And then eventually, by the time you get to the turn of the century, it has a sort of see me underside of using pop culture and things to separate, like I said, classes and aspects of society. That's not really with us as much today, it seems like. I mean, there certainly are elements to it, especially the music realm of who listens to what. For sure. That's still a component today, for sure. But, yeah, pop culture had history has an interesting habit of turning pop culture into high art, if you wait long enough. Shakespeare is writing these plays to entertain the people, to make money. So he can be a poet, right? He wants to be a poet. So he writes these plays sometimes rather quickly and not necessarily as edited as you might want professionally, but they are very popular. He makes lots of money. He has become sort of wealthy and famous in his lifetime. And then they're sort of forgotten until a few years later when his buddies compile them and then they become published and now they are literature, and then a few hundred years later, then they become classroom subjects. But no great author, 18th 19th centuries wrote stories and poems thinking, I hope this will be in a textbook someday. I'm doing this because I want to entertain people, because I have this desire to engage in language and society and emotion and intellect and I want to reach the people. And yeah, even things like subgenres that have gone through all sorts of ups and downs in society, like science fiction and fantasy, start off by being written by the well respected authors of the Hawthorne, you know, ed Gallon, Poe. Well, you might be kind of a dodgy example of well respected author, but at the time, for sure, but you know, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells. These are people that are recognized in society, that are welcome in sort of government circles and sort of the movers and shakers of the Western world in England and the United States especially, and France for like Jules Verne. And others. George Bernard Shaw in Ireland, these are well respected people that everybody just about knows in society, no matter what sort of social class it's you were in. And they are writing what we call today speculative fiction because it's just an acceptable form of creativity and imagination and engaging in what the world might be like. And so for a long time, these sort of areas of life become this is what society consumes, and it's appropriate, and you don't have to get together in sort of secret and say, yes. Oh, I like these short stories by Herman Melville. Oh, so do I. But don't let anybody know. This is a popular culture, and it's acceptable culture at the time. It's not really until that turn of the century where you got especially with the publishing industry, once money gets involved, then things always change. And so then just the nature of the publishing industry, whereas the mysteries, the Westerns, the romance and the horror and Sci-Fi become published on cheap pulp paper, right? And so they become pulp magazines, and so they're printed cheaper, and so they cost less, therefore they're not as important, right? And so they're easy to access, and so it's what the people out there are enjoying, and so they're not what good kids or adults should be reading anymore. And then we lose that sort of connection between just intellect and creativity and imagination being something that drives us as people and play and games and sport and things like that. It becomes this sort of, like I said, the divide between acceptable things that it's okay to talk about and enjoy and things like that, versus what kids and other sorts of aspects of society care about. So it's not what we should be about. And then eventually it becomes the sort of moral component as well. There certainly are valid reasons, and that's sort of the interesting thing. As for for us as Christians looking at pop culture, there certainly are valid moral reasons why we should not engage in, you know, some obvious aspects of it. You know, for some areas of, like, movies slasher movies and things like that that are really designed to appeal to our base instincts that have nothing really theming wise or character wise, plot wise. It's hard to find good sort of redemptive reasons for why you want to watch this. And I can learn great life lessons about conquering the supernatural through sheer luck and violence. That's an OD thing. As we come once again, even the horror industry starts off as a very sort of almost not majestic, but a very interesting sort of visual sort of storytelling in some of those classic silent horror films of the teens and century ago. And now we seem to be sort of coming full circle to that. Again, like making horror movies, this sort of art set piece of high quality cinema and good storytelling, but also scary and things like that in those areas of pop culture that can be very sort of I'll say seductive, but very like, oh, but I hear it's a good movie. It might be, but really, as a Christian, why would I see that? I know a lot of Christians that enjoy horror movies and scary movies and things like that. I'm not one of them. So I'm not really an expert in that field. But as an example of why understand why some Christians especially not say fear pop culture, but think what good is it at all? And then sort of those extreme examples often become the go to things like that. Back in the day, it was role playing games and Dungeons and Dragons, right? In the there are certainly a couple of notable examples of young kids who really do bad things or get involved in the dark and scary side of it. And so that becomes sort of the main message that Christians should not engage in role playing games. There's really only one for a while, like Dungeons and Dragons, right? But the field is I don't want to say evolved. The field has developed so well in role playing games today that it can be a great field for storytelling, cooperative, collaborative storytelling. And it may have nothing to do with the supernatural. There's all sorts of settings and things, just ways to you and your budies can get together and be imaginative, tell stories, play games and have fun that don't have necessarily anything to do with the supernatural or the demonic or anything like that. But because its origins are so off putting or scary or unusual, I think it certainly ish quite a bit over the last three, four decades, for sure. But there's still that remnant of can it be any good at all? There's more to it. And certainly other aspects of pop culture I think may suffer that as well. For Christians even today, the world of sports, certainly we don't think of that as pop culture, but it is right, even though we have noble aspects of it like athletics and basketball and football and soccer and track and hockey and intramurals and things like that. It's well organized and things like that. But what about professional wrestling and other sorts of things that are clearly quite popular? More people watch professional wrestling in a given year even today, than certainly go to symphonies and orcs operas and things like that. But what is it about that sort of thing that makes it sort of unacceptable? I don't know. [00:19:49] Speaker B: Maybe if we talk about music for a minute. Sure. Correct me if I'm wrong. Classic rock. You enjoy classic rock, is that correct? [00:19:56] Speaker C: Yeah, I do. I certainly grow up with my dad, certainly being a fan of the music of his day, growing up in the Certainly, the Beach Boys, Beatles, a lot of that music, certainly, which we featured quite heavily in our 60s. Pop culture class, but noticed that even some of the sort of the major forms and styles go through quite a bit of development, even a rapid period of time, just like certainly the Beatles did. And within less than a decade, you can look at early Beatles, much different from later Beatles and things like that, and sort of their ability to really be creative and take time away from the audience, which is always an interesting aspect of creativity and the relationship of the art, the artist and the audience, which is another interesting thing in itself. Should the artist give the audience what they want or should the audience take what the artist gives them and let them grow and develop and change? Whereas the Beatles certainly demanded of their audience, we're going to grow and develop and change whether you like it or not. And so the audience developed with them, whereas The Beach Boys tried to develop and change and the audience wouldn't let them. And so can't we. Don't want you to change and be anything else. And so The Beach Boys have been stuck in this sort of classic surfing and cars sort of shadow of their own greatest hits tribute band for the last 40, 50 years or so, for the most part, right? And so music is that music is an interesting category because it's so immediate and so personal for people, your music styles, your music tastes. It certainly is one to easily wrap up an identity. So when you were talking about should Christians engage in different music when people hear? No, you shouldn't, then they feel personally attacked much more with music probably, than I think even like movie styles or sports that they like to watch or other sorts of pastimes or hobbies. Because for the most part, music is very much of pop music especially, is more emotional than intellectual. There certainly are phases in 70s Prague rock is more emotional or more sorry, intellectual probably, than emotional, right. Telling grand sort of stories and concept albums that really require you to if you want to understand this music, you're going to have to sit and listen. You can't dance to it, you got to sit and pay attention, whether you have all of your cognitive faculties operating at the time that you're listening to it or not. So there's that aspect of what goes on with pop culture typically has also certainly played a role in the Christian engagement with pop culture, right, because of the sex, drugs and rock and roll. Therefore you can't engage with any of that because of its associations and things like that. So same thing with role playing games in the modern sort of next generations sort of pop culture Christian battle, from pop music to role playing games. And now today, you can't really get away from it, where pop culture is certainly dominating so much of culture with the fascination with superhero movies, things like that, and just certainly through technology, the access to things so immediately, all the time, it's a totally different argument and almost totally different battle today. Right. Whereas from the through, even the late 90s, early 2000s, your access to pop culture is still fairly limited. You have to drive to the movie theater, maybe you have three, four, eventually a dozen, two dozen channels to watch things on. Maybe by the 90s, then VHS tapes and DVDs and things like that, you can watch whatever you want, but it still requires you to be there. Right? That's why the pop culture fifty s and sixty s. It's a much different sort of world as a consumer of pop culture, when you're going to say, all right, we're going to listen to this album in about 22 minutes. We have to stay here and then flip it over so we can listen to the rest of it versus today. You can take in your pocket thousands of movies, TV shows, songs with you wherever you want to go. And so the infrastructure of pop culture has changed quite a bit, which has made the ability or the need to engage in it or be aware of it much more important, but also much more difficult. And we are starting to see that even in the publishing fields now, just even the last few months, with artificial intelligence and things like that, and so many small time publishing companies of science fiction, speculative fiction, things like that, are shutting down because they're now getting inundated with submissions of who knows who or what wrote this. As the technology affects the genre of the field, our ability as Christians, as thinking people, and how do we respond to it, is always and has always been sort of behind the curve. And now it feels like it's even more difficult. [00:25:34] Speaker B: So as Christians are, whether you're thinking of a high school or a college student or somebody who's a parent and their kids are growing up and they're making these decisions about what should I engage with? Right? Because that can be a difficult topic. Is this worth researching and looking in? And I think of like for movies, it's like plugged in and things like that. You can go on it. What's the sexual content, what's the violence, how much swearing, these types of things? Should I listen to this artist or this type of music or this style of music? There might be some swearing in it every once in a while. Maybe there's not. Maybe there's lots, maybe there's lots of sexual content, maybe there's none. Maybe this artist, the music is okay, but he's got affiliations with other people or with drug culture or things like there's all of these things going on. There's video games and violence and the time and addiction. As you're thinking through all this, what is your advice is how to navigate all of these things? [00:26:38] Speaker C: Yeah, like I said today, it's a much different conversation than it was when we were growing up. And because of that access, because of the general standards in what is being made, for sure has shifted quite drastically. We were looking at this in all sorts of ways, like in the publishing industry, the music industry, the movie industry, when even commercials today are so much more explicit, vulgar things like that, that are still sort of shocking, right? Like, why is this acceptable? Even? Especially when kids get ads everywhere they go on their tablets devices, their phones. It's not just when we're sitting together as a family, watching this hour of TV together after dinner or whatever. They can go take it with them. And they hear these unskippable ads on YouTube or other sort of streaming devices that they can't really escape from unless they physically turn away from it or turn off their phones, which is sort of an OD thing, right? So it's definitely a challenge. And it would be easy certainly today, in the rapidly approaching the middle of the 21st century, to say, well, clearly just there's nothing good out there. The standards have devolved so much that there's really nothing good. But that is, in a sense, I think, sort of the same attitude we saw a century ago as artistic poetic fields, as you were saying, even, like in the graphic arts with the modernist period in the teens and 20s, right after right around World War I, things like that. There's a significant shift in the kinds of approaches to visual arts, painting, sculpture, things like that. And so there's drastic breaks away from traditional, safe to consume for everybody kind of poems that are being written, stories are being written, paintings that are being painted, and then it seems like nothing is good anymore, there's no moral value to it, so Christians should just not engage in it at all. And as we see whenever Christians I don't say neglect, but when Christians are not actively involved in elements of society, all elements of society, it never gets better. I don't know. Do Christians have an obligation to stay on top of pop culture? I think if we had for much of the 20th century, there's a good chance it wouldn't be as bad as it is right now. I mean, it's easy to say what if? But I think when Christians are actively involved in their communities, even mission strips, obviously, when Christians are actively involved from a moral perspective on their aspects of painting, literature, music, film, that can be good, that aren't necessarily overtly. Christian when they were aware of that and sort of demonstrating that and talking about them openly with kids and others with each other and say, hey, I saw this really good movie. There's a lot of really good movies from the that aren't necessarily Christian, but they have very true stories and true characters and real emotions and real meaningful plotlines that are, we would say, acceptable. But they're true, right? They're true stories. These paintings depict a fallen world, perhaps, but they're worth knowing about because that's what reality is like. That's what our goal is, to interact, right? Not necessarily overt, but sort of maybe a covert approach to why I think Christians should at least be aware of pop culture, know what's out there sort of is Jesus's, we need to be in the world, but not of the world. And just not being in the world at all, not being aware of what's going on is, like I said, it's not going to help anybody. And so we sort of wake up 20 years later, 40 years later, and find, oh man, it's so much worse. So what should we do? Well, we'll keep running away from it and it hasn't worked yet, it won't continue to work. So it does become tricky. Like, how do we today then get back in there? We tried making movies again, try to make those popular and those can do that. We've seen that a year or two ago with a fairly traditionally moral kind of story like Top Gun Two. There's a definite need in the people out there for real stories that have a moral center to them that as Christians we can certainly use and engage with more. So people don't really want this sort of peripheral kinds of appealing to their base and sin nature kinds of stories all the time. They may feel like it and they may want to sort of think that they want to, but there is certainly that need within human beings to sort of engage in what is true, right? Which not to contradict the Bible, of course. I know no one seeks after a God and no one seeks after a good, for sure. But the response, I think, of Top Gun Two a year or two ago should remind us that pop culture can be a very effective way for us to talk to people. Not necessarily flood the market with Christian songs and Christian movies and Christian books, things like that, but a willingness to engage in what the ideas that are out there and what people want to talk about and bring them back to this eventually, as C. S. Lewis does in Mere Christianity, right? It's not. Chapter One let me talk to you about Jesus and why you have to do this. It starts off with, have you noticed that people so often think that I ought to do this or I ought not do that? Why do you think that is? And that's where he begins. That's where we can begin with pop culture. Like, what is it about this style? Or what is it about this thing that. You listen to and it may be a willingness on our part to listen to some of the music that's being made today and read the books that are being read. And as parents or adults that may be we have to sort of be that vanguard for the kids and be aware of it. And before we just sort of let the kids do it like, oh, it's from this publisher when I was a kid 30 years ago, this publisher was great, so therefore go for it, or things like that. It's certainly not the case anymore. So I understand why where that especially today. But we've been saying that for 100 years today things are bad, they're not as good as they used to be. There are certainly some obvious aspects from some titles and some titles and some publicity can show you clearly this book, this movie is going to try to teach my child something that is contrary to the Bible. So you don't necessarily I mean, when it's so overt like that, I think it's fairly easy to let's stay away from that. But let's do this other thing, let's read this other thing that's popular or even if it's a little older, there's always certainly a realm to and there's no harm in that either. My point is always you don't necessarily have to be up to date on your pop culture appetite and your pop culture knowledge, right? I'm usually about four or five decades behind myself. I'm just growing up in the 60s now. I'm trying to spend some more time trying to understand the 70s, right. But I can still talk to real human beings who are alive today because the ideas, the themes, the sounds, the stories, the images are still fairly similar. And so there is definitely that need for introspection and reflection and why we engage in pop culture in general. And that can be really for the most part, I think, for Christians today, don't feel that you have to be up to date on the chart topping artists. The box office draws things like that. The most popular recommended books. There's a good chance if Streaming Avenues and others are telling you this is the best, you can probably today just guess it's the best because the world says it's the best. And so let's look at other things that we can spend our time with that other people probably care about. And most people there's very few movies that will sustain their interest very long today. We saw a couple of more recent ones this past summer, right, that have gotten all the buz and the hype. But even those movies that are popular recently, if you look at all time charts, they're still not in the top ten money making movies of all time. No matter how much, like I said, buz that they're getting about how great and how beloved these movies are. That could just be the hype train trying to drag your attention away from what people are really interested in and care about and things like that. As Christians, we need to, I would say, be willing to be aware of what's going on and then find out what's there, not necessarily. We have to be active consumers of everything that's popular today. We don't have to do that, for sure, because so much of it is bad. But an unwillingness to be aware of it, an unwillingness to be willing to engage and listen and observe, read for ourselves or watch for ourselves. Like I said, we're not necessarily culpable, for sure, but we haven't helped situations for the last three, four, or five generations by just actively avoiding everything that's not going to do anything good. So we don't have to go watch the latest scary movie because everybody's going to see it. We don't have to go watch the latest TV show that's clearly promoting values that are clearly biblically unsound. A lot of pop culture does our work for us and say, hey, we're bad. Okay, thank you. Your title, your ads, your posters promoting these things, your trailer for this movie. Thank you. I clearly can tell my kids we don't need to spend time with this, but that doesn't mean we should never watch movies, never listen to music, never listen, never read stories, things like that. And that's the thing. It's this mindfulness of being active in our world and aware of what's happening, which, as Christians, seems like that's distracting us from what we're supposed to be about, reading the Bible, praying, thinking about the future. But then we come up with phrases like being so spiritually minded, we're no earthly good. We don't want to do that either. Right? So there is, unfortunately, no great helpful formula. This is the right way to engage in popular culture. You spend X hours doing this and X hours doing that, and now you are a full, rich Christian in the 21st century. But for me, it's always been an attitude, are you willing to listen to what people have to say? Here's why I think this is popular. Here's why it's good. All right. And the willingness of back in the day, mr. Fleming and Mr. Schneider in sort of personal evangelism, saying it's going to have to be like a give and take. If you want to tell them the good news about Jesus here in the late 20th century and now into the 21st century, you may need to be willing to meet them where they are. Well, you have to meet them where they are and say, before we read this book together about Jesus, I will be glad to read this book that you care about that is totally antagonistic to the gospel and the truth. And I will, as a strong Christian, be willing to do that, because there wasn't any really great people around when Jesus came to hang out with people anyway. We think of the disciples and all these people as really great. But at the time when Jesus met them, they didn't really believe in him. Nobody did, right? And he sort of engaged all the time in a world that was beneath him and he did it out of love. And we should do that as well. That doesn't mean we have to become addicted to bad things just to know what it's like. We don't have to watch this X rated thing or watch this other thing just because it seems popular. But we have to be aware of what our world is doing and then that will enable us to meaningfully engage it instead of just saying hey, you're wrong, you're going to hell. Here's what Jesus says. It has always been about relationships and it's always been about leading people humbly, as Peter says, right? We tend to always have this ready defense for the hope that is within you and we stop there, right? Yes. So I've got my facts, I've got my apologetics, I've got this. I'm ready to do battle with the world. But Peter says with humility and respect, oh, we sometimes forget that. So that has been, I think, my emphasis on pop culture. Let's be aware of it, it's not going to hurt us. It kind of can, maybe, but that willingness to be aware of what's there I tend to say, like I was joking about it a moment ago, but I said feel free to start with two generations ago. Familiarize yourself with especially by now I know, do the 60s pop culture maybe someday of 70s pop culture. I don't think we could ever really do, a least not for a while. Two thousand s, two thousand and ten pop culture. It's too close, it's too personal. We don't really even know yet what really was important, what really stuck with people. But we can now say from I think even though some of us were like my dad, others, we're still there and still have personal experiences. We can learn from them for sure while we have that opportunity. But from the safe distance, I think I can still say I wasn't there at the time. But here's what time and culture have shown were important and here's why they were important. Here's what was significant about this music style, about this development in literature and this role of art and here's how we can with our transcendent absolute values that never change. We have that freedom and the ability to comment on what is good and we can still use that. You can say, well why can't we use that for ourself today? We can, for sure, right? If your kid wants to go to see this R rated movie because all the kids are doing it and it seems like this is this really important social event, we do have that ability to without a whole lot of personal experience and well, here's what I know to be true. And if this movie is this, if it serves this purpose, then here's why maybe we shouldn't. But like you said, there are certainly one of the other benefits of this explosion of access to information has been the explosion of access to commentary and awareness. And as you said, some sites that will say, hey, here's what 14 other parents like you have said, and here, let's get two out of five stars in this area and three out of five stars in this area. I can use that as a guide, so it takes very little. So the need to be aware of what's going on there is still pressing, but the resources that we have are much more than we used to. Right? So that is also helpful. [00:42:45] Speaker B: I think this has been a helpful conversation overall. I think we'll probably wrap up there. Just we could talk about this for a long time. As every sentence you're saying, I'm being flooded with more questions than I could ask. But we'd be going all afternoon and we both have things to do, so thank you very much for coming on. This has been really good. Appreciate it. [00:43:03] Speaker C: Thanks for having me. [00:43:04] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. [00:43:06] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to concerning him an Emma's podcast. 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