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Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective Paperback – May 7, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ted Turnau does a great service toward helping Christians engage their culture with both conviction and open-mindedness . . . and offers excellent practical application for how to both appreciate pop culture and fairly critique it."
--Brian Godawa, Hollywood Screenwriter, Author of Hollywood Worldviews

"This is one of the freshest and most original books I have read in ages. . . . A fine blend of worldview apologetics and cutting-edge cultural analysis. . . . I thoroughly commend it."
--Richard M. Cunningham, CEO, Intervarsity UK

"A tour-de-force. Written incisively, with appropriate humor, and especially using up-to-date examples from the field of popular culture . . . there is nothing remotely like it in print today. I recommend it enthusiastically." --William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary

This is one of the freshest and most original books I have read in ages. . . . A fine blend of worldview apologetics and cutting-edge cultural analysis. . . . I thoroughly commend it. --Richard M. Cunningham, CEO, Intervarsity UK

A tour-de-force. Written incisively, with appropriate humor, and especially using up-to-date examples from the field of popular culture . . . there is nothing remotely like it in print today. I recommend it enthusiastically --William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary

About the Author

Ted Turnau is a teaching fellow at the International Institute for Christian Studies. He currently teaches cultural and religious studies at Anglo-American University and cultural studies at the Social Science Faculty of Charles University in Prague.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (May 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596383895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596383890
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr Conrade Yap TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is one of the clearest and well laid out book on how to engage popular culture from a Christian perspective. Ted Turnau cleverly combines "pop culture" and "apologetics" to produce a term called "popologetics" that essentially engages popular culture from a Christian apologetics perspective. It is an optimistic one that gives Christians an impetus to go out into the world to engage popular culture. It is also redemptive and puts a lot of faith in the naturally good part of the world. One can easily tell that Turnau begins with a "half-full" perspective of popular culture. Perhaps, the push to engage culture in apologetics may have tilted Turnau's hand in providing more optimism in his approaches. He seems to have a disdain over cultural critiques like Postman and McLuhan for reasons mentioned. If Turnau can be faulted, it will be his over-enthusiasm for the good in popular culture may have blurred his sensitivity over some of the nuances that McLuhan and Postman have written extensively about. For example, on the phobia of images, there is a particular principality that philosophers like Jacques Ellul have pointed out, that is on an offensive against Christianity and whatever good that Turnau has said. They are on the attack against truth. They are not misguided or passive elements in popular culture. Instead, they have an evil agenda. Turnau has described popular culture so optimistically that he may have underestimated this evil.

My feel about this book is that it has a strong redemptive element but puts up a weak defense against the principalities of evil. Having said that, it is an extremely readable book and is an excellent resource in terms of reading culture with positive eyes. However, let this book be read together with Neil Postman's or Marshall McLuhan's resources.
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Format: Paperback
Popologetics is a word describing how Turnau believes Christians should critically engage popular culture. He encourages us to know our own faith well enough, as well as the worldviews that are competing against it. Thus, "the job of apologetics is to build a bridge between hope and the non-Christian" (Loc 795). We all know that popular culture profoundly influences the way that we think of ourselves and our world. But many of us are overwhelmed with what to actually do about it. It has caused a range of reactions from ignoring the problem to trying to isolate ourselves from its mediums. Ted Turnau comes to our rescue with this wonderful tool for discernment.

This is a very comprehensive book; it's like taking a mini-course on worldview, pop culture, and Christian apologetics. You can tell that Turnau is a teacher by the very organized and instructive way the book is formatted. He clearly defines all his terms, and even gives us visual learners a few pictures (my favorite is his worldview tree). He teaches us that in many ways, popular culture is like a mirror that reflects the popular imagination, but then further informs and shapes us. "Through this dialogue, this listening to and shaping the imagination of its audience, popular culture's influence runs deep (far deeper than we realize) and wide (it is nearly ubiquitous, like something in the air we breathe). And it affects us at the level of worldview, how we understand the reality around and in us. The influence on our worldview is simply undeniable" (Loc 526-537). Turnau's passion and style are very Schaeffer-esque. Francis Schaeffer's books introduced many of these ideas to me in my early college years, so I am very happy to see a modern-day approach targeted to the popular culture of our time.
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Format: Paperback
For this book to have been successful, the author would have had to attempt a refutation of the major Christian critiques of popular culture--from conservative perspectives such as the intellectual right (from Intercollegiate Studies Institute-type conservatism to Allan Bloom to Roger Kimball and the New Criterion to the "crunchy conservatism" of Rod Dreher); evangelical approaches from people as diverse as Ken Myers, Marva Dawn, Richard Winter, Michael Horton, Shane Hipps, T. David Gordon, and Gregory Reynolds; non-evangelical perspectives as diverse as Jacques Ellul, Stanley Hauerwas, Albert Borgman, Wendell Berry, E. Michael Jones, and the Pope; and culture critics such as John McWhorter, Neal Gabler, Carson Holloway, Thomas de Zengotita, Walter Ong, Daniel Boorstein, et al.

Instead of attempting to refute these perspectives that are more cautious and critical of pop culture, the author simply dismisses them. And he dismisses them by caricaturing them. The most blatant example of this is how he falls prey to the fallacy of excluded middle and sets up a false dichotomy between "high" and "low" culture, accusing authors such as Ken Myers and Neil Postman of perpetuating this dichotomy and even unwittingly being racist in the process!

Our author cavalierly dismisses Ken Myers's nuanced construction of "traditional" or "folk" culture, sweeping it under the carpet in one footnote. But this component of Myers's approach is the very thing that defends him against Turnau's false dichotomy.
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