24 July 2006

Christianity and popular culture

I’ve been prompted by 22 July – the day the church remembers Mary Magdalene – to think a little about the Christian response to popular culture. Mary’s “public profile” is as prominent as ever, being a central character in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

Christian responses to the book and film vary, as ever, from condemnation and boycott to engagement. I have been helped by Steve Hollinghurst’s thoughts, and by his published material (Coded Messages )

It strikes me that the Church often needs to stand against contemporary views and events – a prophetic role, if you like – but that we cannot stand outside popular culture.

In the Declaration of Assent, (which they make at ordination and on taking up each new post) Ministers in the CofE are challenged both to affirm the traditional inheritance of faith and “to proclaim [it] afresh in each generation.” That is the key, for me.

Steve has much of interest to say about what form this proclamation might take and has also written very helpfully about the Christian response to The Da Vinci Code. (The Da Vinci Code)

He also points out here (Orthodox or Authentic) that Jesus, in sharing God’s love for ordinary people and meeting them where they were, scandalised those who held “orthodox” beliefs. Those of us in the Church ought to feel uncomfortable at this point!

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