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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Understanding Theology and Popular Culture
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on January 14, 2017
It arrived within a decent amount of time and was everything I expected it to be.
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on November 20, 2012
Used this for a course and was disapointed with this book. It seemed to make the subject matter more confusing rather than making it more clear. This book takes an interesting subject matter and makes it very uninteresting.
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on October 17, 2015
its okay.
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on August 5, 2013
what can be said about a book that HAS to be read... well, it is a good book anyway. recommend
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on May 10, 2010
There are many books about the intersection of Theology & Culture. Most of them are just a collection of interesting musings. Some are a bit more organized than others, but most lack a clear, coherent thesis. Most lack a clear method of analysis. This keeps them from being more useful than they might be.

In this book, Lynch provides a method. To be precise, Lynch identifies a small collection of (4) methods used to compare theology and culture. He identifies questions largely asked in this interdisciplinary topic. Mostly, he just provides a useful introduction, a useful MAP to this topic.

It is difficult to overestimate how useful this is. It's very, very useful. I used the text for a class I took on a related topic, and this was by far the most helpful book. After reading this, reading other books became more...easy to assimilate. I began to take away more from OTHER books after reading THIS book.

Very, very highly recommended. Also, if you're interested in a book that uses a method somewhat consistently from an evangelical (in the American sense of the word) perspective, see a book called "Everyday Apocalypse." I recommend Lynch's book more than that, but it's good as well.

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on May 9, 2008
This is a preferred book on theology and popular culture. Gordon Lynch gives a fair account of the relevant issues, well written and concise. He notes how media and technology relates to capitalism and social organization, and he is cautious of the danger of putting too much explanatory weight on technology and media.

He reviews theories on the proper Christian engagement with culture as well as interpretive approaches to media. He also affirms the need to be critical of how technology and media sustain oppressive systems and distorts values. Hence Lynch brings in view a healthy interdisciplinary awareness involved in understanding the integration of theology and popular culture.

To get a sense of the author's perspective, he prefers what he refers to as the revised conversational model, which "envisions theology as a mutual critical dialogue between interpretations of the Christian message and interpretations of contemporary cultural experiences and practices."(130) This method is preferred because "it recognizes that truth and goodness are not the sole positions of one particular religious tradition or world-view."(105) Then he states that his model needs to be informed by another model called the praxis model. "What distinguishes the praxis model...is its commitment to critiquing religious and cultural beliefs on the basis of their promotion of liberation and well being."(104) This model "is invaluable in reminding us that appropriate theological reflection should ultimately inspire ways of living and acting that are liberating and transformative."(106)

If you have to read only one book on theology and popular culture, I would recommend this one as having a nice balance of perspective. However no book is comprehensive and I would encourage other resources.

Other authors on the subject, include Kelton Cobb, Detweiler & Taylor, Shane Hipps, Robert Johnston, and William Romanski. Also some articles in the Routledge Companion to Postmodernism (Such as "Postmodernism and Popular Culture) are helpful.
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on November 25, 2005
Many theologians write about "popular culture," either directly or indirectly, but theology has been lacking a text that would help situate the larger field of studies in religion and popular culture. Lynch has written such a text: a map for theologians interested in the contemporary debates, as well as a proposal for a theological development of the key questions.

This book makes some very important contributions: foregrounding the importance of theological debates in the correlational tradition for pop culture/theology work; holding out the dignity of the experimental moment in which the "field" finds itself, mirrored in the trifecta of readings of pop culture artifacts in the latter part of the book; introducing the significance of judgment for pop culture/theology work; and strongly joining theological analysis of pop culture to the problematic of the everyday. That's a lot of boulders moved forward in about 200 pages.

I have some questions about whether and how the problem of "normativity" is the best way to describe the ethical impasse Lynch narrates in the field today. Still, this is an excellent book for helping theologians catch up to where the current debates are, or as a text for students to help them see how a seemingly simple task--asking how God and culture relate--is so complicated.

Tom Beaudoin

Santa Clara University
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on January 3, 2012
It started so many new thoughts and ideas on this subject in my own mind. I absolutly had no idea of what it meant until my professor asked me to write a report about "Popular Culture" and buy this book.
I willingly read it (Maybe Non-Willing at that time hahaha) and I surely loved every single page of the book.
Understanding this term has in some ways changed the way I look at the world we are living in. It has given me a broader way of seeing life and it has helped me in my analytical approach to life.
Thank you Mr. Gordon Lynch for a wonderful book
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on May 25, 2013
This book is about as contemporary as an academic book on the topic of popular culture can be. Lynch's approach to the theological task in relationship to pop culture is refreshing and relevant. Lunch takes the conversation beyond "good" or "bad" when approaching pop culture. He surveys a number of approaches as well as a number of voices within each approach allowing the reader to grasp the breadth of opinion on the topic.
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