Hi Stuart, can you share about how you build bridges from pop culture media to discussions about the bigger questions of life? I think many of us are wary of the cheesy, forced, and scripted approaches. At the same time, sometimes it is hard to know if there even is a connection between a TV show and the storyline of Scripture. What are some of your habits, attitudes, approaches that enable you to navigate between the media people are engaging in and your faith?
Hi Carson, good question. I think there can be a tendency to use canned or somewhat wooden analogies at times, and it can give the impression of co-opting things for a foreign use. I tried to watch and listen to things (cultural offerings) with eyes and ears open. My aim was and is, to receive the item or song or show as it was intended or given and note things that stood out. I began to see things that were important in the story, or which touched a nerve, or which aroused anger, the hunger for justice, love or such and it was THAT which drew my curiosity.
I would begin with assuming we live in a created order (guided by scripture) and the tendency of the fallen heart to seek answers, comfort and help in the creation rather than from the Creator, I would then try to discover what the God intended aim or desire or fulfillment was that this substitute was being used to satisfy? Perhaps it was our longing for Justice such as in the Dark Knight trilogy and the struggle with conflicted characters wrestling with evil but struggling to do good. I am interested on what these things say or show about the human condition? Audiences would know these movies, maybe revel in the story and the characters and stop there. i would often allude to them (the story or song, etc) and connect with the human needs, the issue we all face and from there open up thinking or discussion on what a real answer would look like or require?
I have also been aware that a degree of caution is needed. We can be blind consumers of cultural material and not all lends itself to our interest or involvement. The other challenge is being so far removed from it all that we cannot employ anything known in a wider sense to aid conversation or illustration.
So? Step one, is being well versed in the Gospel. Knowing the scriptures well enough and keeping this front and center. Step two, is being informed and aware so we see or consider things carefully. Step three is being aware of how such can be injected into conversations, talks or on posts, when appropriate. Acts 17 provides a great example and guide as the Apostle employs locals poetry to connect with his message on who God is.
Seeking the unfamiliar through the familiar may be a way of putting it, and as our mission is translation, bringing God’s truth to bear in the context of daily life, my aim is to finds meaningful bridges for the Gospel and ways to overcome barriers. hope this helps!