Don't Stop Believin': Pop Culture and Religion from <i>Ben-Hur</i> to Zombies

Overview


Elvis Presley. Andy Warhol. Nike. Stephen King. Ellen DeGeneres. Sim City. Facebook. These American pop culture icons are just a few examples of entries you will find in this fascinating guide to religion and popular culture. Arranged chronologically from 1950 to the present, this accessible work explores the theological themes in 101 well-established figures and trends from film, television, video games, music, sports, art, fashion, and literature. This book is ideal for anyone who has an interest in popular ...
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Don't Stop Believin': Pop Culture and Religion from Ben-Hur to Zombies

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Overview


Elvis Presley. Andy Warhol. Nike. Stephen King. Ellen DeGeneres. Sim City. Facebook. These American pop culture icons are just a few examples of entries you will find in this fascinating guide to religion and popular culture. Arranged chronologically from 1950 to the present, this accessible work explores the theological themes in 101 well-established figures and trends from film, television, video games, music, sports, art, fashion, and literature. This book is ideal for anyone who has an interest in popular culture and its impact on our spiritual lives. Contributors include such experts in the field as David Dark, Mark I. Pinsky, Lisa Swain, Steve Turner, Lauren Winner, and more.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This edited collection seeks to answer why certain pop cultural icons, from Godzilla to Mickey Mantle, “stir up something in our spirit,” and how they might “sharpen our understanding and appreciation of Scripture.” Organized by decade starting with the 1950s, the brief entries meditate on a wide range of figures with results of varying quality. Essays on Philip Pullman, Miles Davis, and the Left Behind series produce illuminating accounts of how the religious is mediated through culture. Comparing Miles Davis to Jesus, Detweiler argues that when religious authorities tried to pin Jesus down, he responded with a creative riff…, when his popularity grew, he often turned his back on the crowds. Other analyses stretch for theological import (Neil Diamond incarnates people’s hopes) or resort to bland platitudes (Facebookraises “interesting questions about the nature of intimacy and relationships”). Fascinating figures like Billy Graham and Johnny Cash are granted fairly straightforward biographical narratives. In attempting to answer whether our attention to Michael Jordan and Madonna come at the expense of timeless truths, editor Johnston, a professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, concludes that they are vehicles for God’s Spirit and presence in the world. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"This fantastic collection of essays (more like conversation starters, really) encourages us to take a deeper look at the popular entertainment that our world enjoys--because we just might find God there. If a contemporary apostle Paul had to defend the faith on a modern-day Mars Hill, I'd recommend he refer to this book for a quick update about how our culture reflects what we believe." Dean Batali, Writer/Producer, That '70s Show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"Ranging widely and wisely across the panoply of people, places and events that defined the heart and soul of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, this is a spiritual tour de force about the things that have shaped our histories and defined our context of culture and meaning." J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman, The Futures Company; author of Generation Ageless

"Rejecting the tendency to see the spiritual as made of a different quality than the popular, Robert Johnston, Craig Detweiler, and Barry Taylor invite us--in fact, usher us--into spiritual themes that have shaped American, and world, culture over the last half century. Don't Stop Believin' is a fast-paced, timely dictionary of popular, meaningful spiritual vitality." Doug Pagitt, pastor, radio host, and author of A Christianity Worth Believing

"A captivating, idiosyncratic, journey through the icons of popular culture from the 1950s to today. This book will inspire and inform anyone who seeks to find a deeper meaning in the ever-changing world around us." George Nolfi, writer-director of The Adjustment Bureau and co-writer of The Bourne Ultimatum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780664235055
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
  • Publication date: 10/13/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert K. Johnston is Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue and Finding God in the Movies: 33 Films of Reel Faith, and editor of Reframing Theology & Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline.

Craig Detweiler is Associate Professor of Communication at Pepperdine University. He is the editor of Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God; the author of Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century; and coauthor (with Barry Taylor) of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture.

Barry Taylor is Adjunct Professor of Popular Culture and Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and coauthor (with Craig Detweiler) of A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture. He is a professional musician, painter, and the leader of New Ground, an alternative worship gathering in Los Angeles.

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