New-Edge Spirituality in a Digital Democracy
series: Cultural Exegesis
- Pub. Date
- Mar 2008
It's the end of the church as we know it. In a digitally connected world, people are seeking spiritual answers through pop culture. Instead of retreating, Christians must "rethink the sacred" and enter global conversations about God--in film, literature, TV, and music--or face extinction, argues Barry Taylor in Entertainment Theology.
Taking snapshots from theology, cultural studies, sociology, and pop culture, Taylor explores a myriad of factors affecting religious life since the 1970s, including technology, fashion, celebrity, and global communications. He exhorts a move away from traditional Christian religion, proposing instead a manifestation of Christianity as a religion not of the past but of the present and the future.
For scholars, seminary students, culture watchers, and emerging-church readers, Entertainment Theology offers thought-provoking hope for Christianity's future.
"In the hands of a musician, poet, and artist, theology is not delivered prepackaged and labeled but is, rather, God-talk that is creative and evocative. Barry Taylor leads us out of our studies and our pews to do our theology in the street, in response to the media bombardment and the many voices and images around us. Great entertainment stimulates our imagination and invites our participation, and Taylor does both. Entertainment Theology is not the last word, but a work in progress."--Eddie Gibbs, senior professor, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Barry Taylor has a remarkable ability to bring together perspectives on contemporary culture that other commentators often miss. His wide-ranging understanding of both culture and practical theology come together in a conversation that is accessible as well as provocative. No serious scholar can afford to ignore Taylor's insights on the interaction of culture and spirituality."--John Drane, author, The McDonaldization of the Church
"Barry Taylor's Entertainment Theology is a powerful and provocative summons to renewed attentiveness to the strange new world rising up around us. Against the tendency to defensively dismiss emerging spiritualities as either uselessly nebulous or somehow demeaning to religious tradition, Taylor articulates the more excellent way of critical affirmation, celebrating what he sees as a democratization of spirit and a shift toward a more globally minded, yet communal, conversation about the meaning of God. Entertainment Theology is the place where Donnie Darko, Buddhism, the Lorax, Tom Waits, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights interface. It announces the end of the tired, old world where these conversations were thought to be beyond the pale and challenges us to see the postmodern world (on the way and already here) as an ever-emerging opportunity for redemptive and redeeming reassessment. Intensely recommended."--David Dark, author, Everyday Apocalypse
"Entertainment Theology is a challenging, unique theological approach for the educated, sophisticated reader who's interested in the connection between religion, culture, and 21st-century spirituality. . . . [Taylor] provides numerous nuggets of information and inspiration, thoroughly researched and meticulously documented. An artist and professor, Taylor immerses the reader in modern technology and contemporary cultural ideas, while presenting an artistic and poetic approach to theology."--John Bernstein, CBA Retailers + Resources
"Entertainment Theology is one of the most insightful analyses of contemporary culture and the state and fate of religion in it that I have read in quite some time. . . . Taylor's smooth interaction with all forms of popular media from novels to films to television programs to music videos reveals a culture not of sin and evil, though that certainly exists, but a culture fashioning its own form of spirituality and God-talk that Christianity must take seriously. . . . There is much encouragement here for artists and lovers of art to get involved in the new spirituality. Entertainment Theology is truly an enjoyable, accessible text. Fans of pop-culture will be amazed at the diverse examples he shares from The Da Vinci Code to Donnie Darko. Like his assessment of the state of religion today, Taylor's interactions with pop-culture, scholars, and theologians is de-centralized, or rather de-Westernized, drawing from thinkers from all corners of the world and a host of media. As such, his text is stronger for it and our reading experience richer."--poptheology.com