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
Entertainment Theology (Cultural Exegesis): New-Edge Spirituality in a Digital Democracyby Barry Taylor
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.
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.
Meet the Author
Barry Taylor (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is artist in residence for the Brehm Center and an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he teaches a series of spiritually innovative classes on music, film, and contemporary theology. In addition, he is an associate rector at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills. He has coauthored two books, A Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Pop Culture and A Heretic's Guide to Eternity.
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