Pop Culture 101 for Pastors

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

I’ve had an interesting life.  More than 20 years ago, I ran away to Los Angeles to give a shot at becoming a film director.  I lived and breathed movies for several years before I moved to Hollywood.  I may have been kicked out of 2 private schools and come close to truancy at 2 others but I was an expert when it came to film making and film history. 

Fortunately, I also was given the opportunity to live and breathe rock & roll when I scored a gig working for two legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller who wrote classics like “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Stand By Me,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “Charlie Brown,” “Love Potion #9,” Along Came Jones,” etc.  Hanging out with Jerry & Mike fed a passion for the history of rock & roll and it has actually served me well as a minister.  

Pop culture is the lingua franca of several generations of Americans, yet it hit me during seminary that most pastors are woefully ignorant of movies, music, television, etc.  Yet, it is clear that Paul knew the Greek poets who were the rock stars of his day (Acts 17:16-34),

Paul understood that the cultural icons of any day deeply shape the way people think for the rest of their lives.  So, if one understands the culture than one can better understand the people culture has helped form. 

For example, one of the areas I want to explore is the history of rock & roll and its impact on the last few generations.  Did you know that teenagers are a product of rock & roll in the 1950’s? Once we looked upon kids as babies, toddlers, young children and young adults but now “teenagers” are an integral part of our lives.  Teen culture is a huge industry that affects all of us and, in many ways, divides families.  Yet, no such beast existed before rock & roll.  Why? We will turn to that question and many more tomorrow as I try to redeem some of my “secular” knowledge and experiences.

I hope you will join in the discussion as we attempt to read culture in order to better understand every generation around us, especially those who are outside the body of Christ.


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