Both this post and my last post have been inspired by pop culture. So thanks, Katy Perry. And thanks….Flo Rida. By thanks…I mean NOT thanks. As I was returning from my afternoon coffee run, his most recent hit “Whistle” came on the radio. Now, I’ve heard the song about a bajillion times now. And it’s unfortunately catchy. And I really don’t think that pop culture defines what I do on a day-to-day basis, but if there’s any remote possibility that this song could do that….I’d be in a world of hurt.
Not only are the lyrics of the song extremely degrating towards women – portraying men as experienced sex machines, just needing “maintainence” from time to time (or, like all the time), and women are portrayed as instruments at their disposal. How gross. If anyone was looking for a quintessential song that describes the way this up-and-coming generation views sex…well, then this is it. Sex is a selfish exchange that is mostly about men feeling good. There is nothing in this song that acknowledges the other partner’s need for sexual or physical intimacy. In fact, intimacy isn’t really a “thing” of this song. Sex is an exchange, kind of like a business deal really.
So THAT song started playing…and a rush of all of those songs (and much more — see below) came to mind. The kind of “tuning out” I’m referring to in the title is the kind of intentional tuning out that Christianity often pressures its believers to do to all things “of this world.”
Now, I can’t say that tuning out secular society is what makes us better people, makes us Christians, or gives usan extra jewel in our crowns. Being someone who admires a good ole gem, I would have given up all kinds of secular influences long ago if I thought that would pay out in the end. Whatever. My point is that…
(a) “Tuning out” secular society may be off-putting to society. This doesn’t work well in the longrun.
(b) “Tuning out” secular society only further centers us into a Christian “bubble.” Christianity ought not be about segregation as much as it should be about integration.
(c) “Tuning out” secular society is often admired and encouraged for the wrong reasons.
I don’t really care to detail the many ways in which the first two points are true. I feel that they are glaringly obvious. What I care to do more than anything else is to suggest that tuning out secular society does not need to be a literal dismissal of all things created by or suggested by society. Instead, I feel that Scripture ought to be (excuse the analogy) the bowels through which we digest the society we face every day. Deep within our hearts, our desire should be to allow less of culture to shape the way our hearts act out – and more prone to let the words of scripture shape the way we serve, forgive, administer grace, love, work, experience grief, adjust to change, etc.
Okay, so that might be an elementary realization, but seriously! It just hit me hard today.
The bottom line. How can I say that I want to be more Christ-like, yet allow pop culture to define me and what I do? This is a very silly example, but I have (quite honestly) have more of Mean Girls memorized than I do of actual scripture. Embarrassing (Cool, but embarrassing.) I don’t think that quoting Mean Girls is necessarily detrimental to my spiritual well-being or that it has caused me to be an unloving grump who is unable to see good in anyone around me. But at the same time, how is memorizing those things encouraging me to be more Christ-like. I don’t think this means I should study scripture foran hour every day before work or that I should only listen to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Please no. Not that.
What I DO think, though, is that I have short-changed myself and the power of the Gospel when I do not allow it to have an equal opportunity (if not more) to shape my heart. And shape it more into the form of Christ’s warm, loving hands.