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Redeeming Pop Culture: A Kingdom Approach [Paperback]

By T. M. Moore (Author)
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Item Number 130595  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   167
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.51" Width: 5.43" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 16, 2003
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  0875525768  
EAN  9780875525761  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Among the different approaches that can be taken towards modern culture, the author proposes a missiological approach as well, so Christians may be better able to redeem parts of the culture for their own use in evangelism. Stressing the inevitability of popular culture, Moore challenges the reader to subdue the culture while staying true to the mandate of the kingdom of God. Study questions after each chapter offer introspection and can be used to encourage action, sparking Christians to "...judge righteous judgment"(John 7:24) pertaining to cultural choices. The author also urges communication with those immersed in the culture to better facilitate dialogue and, eventually, effect cultural change.

Publishers Description
contentsIntroduction1. Culture, Cultures, and Popular Culture2. Popular Culture and Our Kingdom Calling3. Sources of Popular Culture4. Judging Popular Culture5. Approaching Popular Culture6. Moments of Transcendence

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More About T. M. Moore

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! T. M. Moore is an associate pastor at Cedar Springs Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a former president of Chesapeake Theological Seminary in Baltimore. A prolific writer, he also serves as the North American editor for Scripture Union Publications. T. M. and his wife, Susie, have four children and ten grandchildren and make their home in Concord, Tennessee.

T. M. Moore currently resides in Knoxville, in the state of Tennessee. T. M. Moore was born in 1949.

T. M. Moore has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Jonathan Edwards for Today's Reader

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Fails to understand that the medium has meaning  Oct 6, 2004
I read Moore's book expectantly, because I had heard he was indebted to Ken Myers. I was disappointed. Unlike Myers, who is as perspicuous as he is nuanced, Moore's approach fails to probe beneath the surface.

I am delighted that he suggests that we should have a critical eye toward pop culture, using the ancient Aristotelian rubric of truth, goodness, and beauty as criteria for judging culture (tethered to revelation, tradition, and spiritual guidance). Yet, he is ambiguous about how to do that, and he fails to give any examples.

My greatest concern about the book is that he seems to view cultural forms as divorced from their cultural context. He suggests, for example, that rap and hip-hop can and should be redeemed. But to redeem something means to change it--Creation, Fall, Redemption (redeeming something--gradually restoring it to its pre-fall state).

How is DC Talk (which Moore extols) changing the FORM of rap culture? I know they're changing the words--redeeming rap lyrics. But are they redeeming rap as a cultural artifact--are they offering anything aesthetic or cultural that redeems it as an art form, or are they merely ripping off a currently existing art form and tacking Christian content onto it?

This gets to the root of the problem: After what seems to be a good start, Moore gets back to the same basic evangelical problem of "the words (content)are really the only things that matter." In other words, he fails to understand Marshall McLuhan's dictum, "The medium is the message." In fact, he doesn't seem to understand any relation of the medium to the message. So his main concern is the PROPOSITIONAL CONTENT of pop culture, NOT the artform or medium or style. That is what makes him say that, when he was in an anti-pop-culture phase of his life, for a while he listened only to "classical and Christian music." He made this statement very soon after extolling DC Talk as a great example of "Christian music."

Unfortunately, this seems to get back to the same cultural relativism that seems to plague late-modernist, late-capitalist evangelicalism and will keep us from producing any enduring works of art, whether musical or visual: The medium is really meaningless: only words (propositions) have real meaning; forms, styles, and subcultures are devoid of meaning.

Because of this failure to deal with the meaning inherent in pop art and music (see p. 120 of All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Ken Myers for hints as to its meaning), Moore sadly falls back into the same "addicted to mediocrity" stance of most fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, i.e., that what is important is WHAT you say (message, content, substance), not HOW you say it (medium, form, style). This mentality will continue to hamstring evangelical cultural/artistic output--continuing to make evangelicalism "Christ of culture" rather than truly "Christ transforming culture."

Solid and Safe  Aug 20, 2004
According to its author "the purpose of this book is to provide guidance for evangelical Christians in dealing with popular culture in a way that fosters appreciation for it and even enjoyment of it, without compromising Christ's call to seek first the kingdom and his righteousness". More specifically, it is "to explain something of the character of this uniquely modern and postmodern phenomenon so as to alert evangelicals to the inherent dangers of an unguarded approach to popular culture, and to highlight the need to equip them to deal with it".

In light of the above, Moore strives to encourage a thoughtful and purposeful cultural participation on the part of evangelicals. He argues for this on three main grounds: the inevitability of culture-that culture is an essential and inescapable feature of human life; our being made in the image of God and therefore our being inherently cultural beings; and it being the very nature of our kingdom calling to interact with the world. Further, he also reminds us that "there is much of beauty, goodness, and truth to be discovered and enjoyed in the forms of popular culture".

The main divisions of this work admirably serve its goals by discussing the relationship between culture and cultures, the particular calling of the evangelical sub-culture, the sources of popular culture, evaluating popular culture, expectations or what evangelicals should hope to gain as they approach popular culture, and a "kingdom approach" to redeeming popular culture. This latter chapter is the nub or "bottom line" of Moore's book in so far as other chapters both anticipate and presuppose it. Of course it also provides the book with its integrating theme (not to mention its subtitle).

Overall, Moore writes well and does a particularly good job of highlighting the inescapability of culture and therefore of the need for meaningful Christian engagement. Moore exhibits a familiarity with the forms of popular culture that he writes about and therefore models the effectiveness of his own kingdom approach for us. Against the boisterous triumphalism of less balanced works he also encourages learning as much as we can about the people who participate in popular culture so as to have us grow in understanding, empathy, compassion and patience as we work with them. In what I found to be some of the most helpful pages, Moore also manages to talk succinctly about the awkward question of taste and how Christians ought to develop, expand and check their personal tastes.

Although there are many good things to say about this work inevitably there are some minor criticisms too. First, given that we are being offered a "kingdom approach" to culture I would like to have seen more than we were provided with on the kingdom of God itself. Specifically, I expected more information on the nature of the kingdom and some supplementary articulation of its relation to the church and to the world. After all, how many evangelicals are used to thinking in eschatologically mature or nuanced ways? And how many younger readers are familiar with these important biblical categories at all? Second, and on a related note, given that this work seeks to promote evangelical participation in popular culture, at least some mention of the place that redeemed culture will have in the `New Jerusalem' and any future potential of man-made artifacts would also have been a welcome inclusion. Not only would this have been a further affirmation of our kingdom calling, but it also encourages evangelicals to have a positive outlook on the culture and its development by human beings (cf. David Bruce Hegemon, Plowing in Hope: Toward a Biblical Theology of Culture [Canon Press, 1999]). Third, aware as the author is of popular culture's ability to overwhelm and harm Christian faith, yet he doesn't really address the other side, namely, evangelical apathy toward culture. All too often what I see is how indifference to serious engagement with culture and its concomitant, evangelical anti-intellectualism, threaten to diminish our witness and undermine faith by reducing Christianity to a narrow and largely irrelevant sphere of existence. Indeed, apathy toward culture can be every bit as strangling as the kudzu of popular culture.

As one of a burgeoning number of evangelical works on cultural engagement Moore's, Redeeming Pop Culture, is neither wide-ranging nor original. It is however solid and safe; not bad qualities for those pastors, parents and youth leaders who want help in equipping their charges to engage popular culture with biblical wisdom and Christian integrity.
Excellent Introduction to Think Christianly About Culture  Oct 14, 2003
Applying theology to popular culture has long been a neglected area for evangelical Christians. Thankfully, it is an area that is receiving more attention in recent years. I am especially thankful for T.M. Moore's recent book, Redeeming Popular Culture. This is a very accessible, well-written book that helps the reader think about our daily interaction with, as the author describes it, the "kudzu" of popular culture (meaning it is everywhere, and spreads like it is out of control). Moore's work is biblical, insightful and challenging and will force the reader to evaluate their views on culture.

Redeeming Pop Culture, is not an attack, but an evaluation and a work of theology. It is not an alarmist work, but instead gives the reader tools to help discern, and a vision to help impact the culture we live in. Here is a sample, "...we cannot pursue a kingdom approach to popular culture without at the same time seeking the Lord more earnestly. We are not interested in learning about popular culture for its own sake; rather, our objective is to discover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Lord, to improve our own tastes, to be pleased with what pleases Him, and to prepare ourselves as His ambassadors to serve the interests of His Kingdom." (pp. 149).

I highly recommend Redeeming Pop Culture for anyone who wants to think more biblically about the culture in which we live and breathe and how to impact it for Christ. For those interested in going more in depth on this, I recommend All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Kenneth A. Myers, a work that Moore quotes frequently and builds upon.


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