Monday, April 20, 2015

All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture by Kevin Harvey, 2015

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Somehow, it's hard to picture pop culture and Christianity going hand-in-hand, but maybe we simply aren't looking at things the right way. "All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture" reveals places where readers may be surprised to find redeeming values and gospel messages in today's movies, music, popular TV shows, and much more!
When you look closely, past the outrageous outfits and the antics of teen pop-sensations, it's easy to see that from the big screen to the small screen and right down to the radio waves, God and His stories are still prevalent in pop culture today. There are movies and television shows that speak eternal truth, reality show families who represent believers well, even fictional Christians portrayed in a positive light. And if you listen closely, musicians are still conversing with God as the original songwriters of the Bible did. For the reader searching for meaning in media today, "All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture "is the perfect choice.

(244 pages)

Hopefully you know by now that I'm no stranger when it comes to enjoying diverse books. I'm pretty current when it comes to new MG and YA books, I enjoy a good fantasy as much as the next person, and my bookshelves hold way more science than Amish fiction. What you may not know is that my music library is also pretty open to a wide variety of music genres. When I put my iPad on random shuffle, these are the first five songs that come up: "Find Me" by Christina Grimmie, "Waiting for Superman" by Daughtry, "Grenade" by Bruno Mars, "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music," and "Do You Think About Me" by Carrie Underwood.

I say this to explain that I am not a shut-in when it comes to popular culture. However, I think there's a limit to what is acceptable for me. There reaches a point where media goes too far, where it so blatantly supports un-Christian morals that I just have to put the book down, take out my earbuds, or hit the "stop" button on the TV. I realize this "turn-off" point is different for everyone, but mine is definitely earlier than Harvey's.

And this is where Harvey loses me. He sits down to watch the dirtiest, most offensive television shows and comes away twisting over backwards to say they represent something from the Bible. I'm sorry, Harvey, but I just can't swallow that there is any Christianity in The Big Bang Theory, Lost, or Extreme Makeover. I'm not saying that they're straight from the devil or anything, just that they are not Christian shows and that you can't pretend that they are. Bend over backward far enough, and just about anything points where you want it to. Harvey addresses these issues by saying that pop culture offers half of the Bible, and it's up to other Christians to teach people about the other half. I personally don't agree with this exaggeration of the Bible's prevalence in pop culture, but even if I did I still would have liked for him to lead more with that, and less with "let's look at this random movie and dissect it for Christ!"

Harvey's writing is compelling, though, and kept me engaged much longer than I would have otherwise stayed interested. The subheadings throughout the chapters are kind of confusing, making it hard to flip through and find his analysis of specific movies/books/shows/etc. There are a bunch of Bible quizzes scattered throughout the book that I didn't even attempt because I knew I'd fail. There's also a section at the back of the book with puzzles about Bible content in them. I don't really see what a crossword puzzle about flowers listed in Song of Solomon has to do with pop culture, but I can see how this would appeal to younger people. I'm handing off my copy of the book to my younger siblings once I'm done with it, because I know they'll like the puzzles a lot more than I would.

All in all, this was a well-written book with weird chapter organization and an argument I disagree with. It's too bad, because I got my hopes up when I saw the title.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.

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