Entertainment Theology: New-Edge Spirituality in a Digital Democracy


About the Author:
Barry Taylor (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is artist in residence for the Brehm Center and an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary

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Entertainment Theology (Cultural Exegesis): New-Edge Spirituality in a Digital Democracy

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About the Author:
Barry Taylor (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is artist in residence for the Brehm Center and an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Exploring the connections between "post-secular" culture and emerging forms of belief, Taylor (artist-in-residence at Fuller Theological Seminary and associate rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills) argues that " 'spirituality' is the new religion of our times." This wide-ranging book uses examples from pop culture, particularly movies, and ideas from a variety of postmodern observers to argue that a democratization of spirit is leading to new forms of faith and a "re-enchantment of Western culture." Taylor then turns from observer to evangelist as he calls for "an end to the present form of Christianity" in favor of "Christian spiritualities." While Taylor brings considerable enthusiasm and extensive reading to bear on his topic, many of the book's vague generalities are unsupported by evidence, and he fails to define who is actually affected by the cultural sea change he insists is occurring. His intended audience isn't clear, and weak writing and tone shifts also mar this ambitious book. In tracing nascent trends and arguing for traditional Christianity's demise, Taylor ignores the vigorous ongoing practice of Christian religion around the globe, including the call to social justice in a suffering world. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Taylor (artist in residence, Fuller Theological Seminary; A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture) here takes as his starting points the oft-heard comment "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual" and his own redefinition of theology as global communal conversation about all things sacred. Using examples from film (e.g., Donnie Darko, Waterworld), music, and art, he employs the term entertainment theologyto indicate "the relationship between the contemporary religious climate and the popular culture." Although Taylor uses popular culture to look at contemporary spiritual practices, his book differs from William D. Romanowski's more straightforward analysis, Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture, for Taylor combines largely dense cultural analysis with personal observation, providing an impressionistic portrait of the intersection of contemporary culture and spirituality. Ultimately, though, he says little new about the future of Christian theology except that it needs to move away from traditional content and form. For larger theological collections.
—Diane Harvey

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801032370
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Series: Cultural Exegesis
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.74 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     9
Introduction     11
New Horizons     25
Magical, Mystical Polish: The Reenchantment of Western Culture     27
The Implosion of Modernity and the Rise of the Postsecular     33
Timeless Time     35
Space-The Final Frontier?     36
Corporeality: The Body Politic     45
Corporeality and Authority     54
Evolution Not Revolution     63
The Decline and Rise of God: The Emergence of a Spiritual Society     66
Everything Is Everything     71
Emerging Global Culture and the Symbolic Universe of the Media Generation     75
A Postmodern Ethic     83
New-Edge Spirituality     85
New Edges     87
Surface as Depth: Faith as Fetishization     89
Shopping for God: Commodifying Faith     96
Entertainment Theology: Religion Goes Pop     103
Postsecular Soul Space     106
Zen Culture: The Tao of Postmodernity     107
The Next Enlightenment: Rational Mystics     120
Retrolution: Postmodern Gothic     131
Celebrating Celebrity     149
Capturing Cool     153
Strong-Arming the World: The Rise of ResistantCommunities     155
New Orthodoxies     173
Playing the Future     175
After Christianity     181
Identity Shifting     188
God-Talk in the Postsecular: Missional Theology for a Radically Different World     192
Attitudes     194
Theological Containers     200
Participatory Theology     201
Prophetic Theology     202
Practical Theology     204
Making Signs: Encoding the Message     206
A Final Thought     211
Notes     213
Bibliography     227
Subject Index     240
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