Christian pop culture
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2008)|
Christian pop culture (or Christian popular culture), is the vernacular Christian culture that prevails in any given society. The content of popular culture is determined by the daily interactions, needs and desires, and cultural 'movements' that make up everyday lives of Christians. It can include any number of practices, including those pertaining to cooking, clothing, mass media and the many facets of entertainment such as sports and literature
Culture, as a way of defining one's self, needs to attract people's interest and persuade them to invest a part of themselves in it. People like to feel a part of a tribe and understand their identity within that tribe. This works well in small communities and people feel needed and special in their small world. Mass culture however lets people define themselves in relation to everybody else in mass society. In a sense it 'makes the ball park a lot bigger' and we have to fight harder to find and keep our identity.
In modern urban mass societies, Christian pop culture has been crucially shaped by the development of industrial mass production, the introduction of new technologies of sound and image broadcasting and recording, and the growth of mass media industries—the film, broadcast radio and television, and the book publishing industries, as well as the print and electronic news media.
Items of Christian pop culture most typically appeal to a broad spectrum of Christians. Some argue that broad-appeal items dominate Christian pop culture because profit-making Christian companies that produce and sell items of Christian pop culture attempt to maximize their profits by emphasizing broadly appealing items. (see culture industry) And yet the situation is more complex. To take the example of Christian pop music, it is not the case that the music industry can impose any product they wish. In fact, highly popular types of music have often first been elaborated in small, counter-cultural circles such as Christian punk rock or Christian rap.
Because the Christian pop industry is significantly smaller than the secular pop industry, a few organizations and companies dominate the market and have a strong influence over what is dominant within the industry.
Examples from Australian media
Christian pop culture has multiple origins. A principal source is the set of industries that make profit by inventing and promulgating cultural material. These include the Christian pop music, film, television, radio, video game, and book and comic book publishing industries.
A different source of Christian pop culture is the set of professional communities that provide the public with facts about the world, frequently accompanied by interpretation. These include the news media, and scientific and scholarly communities. The work of scientists and scholars is mined by the news media and conveyed to the general public, often emphasizing "factoids" that have inherent appeal or the power to amaze.
Another source of Christian pop culture which makes it differ from pop culture is the influence from mega churches. Christian pop culture reflects the current popularity of megachurches, but also the uniting of smaller community churches. The culture has been led by Hillsong Church in particular, which resides in many countries including Australia, France, and the United Kingdom.
Unlike pop culture, the transition from traditional Christian culture to the more modern Christian pop culture has been slower, evident in the popularity of the more traditional Anglican and Catholic Churches over Pentecostal and Megachurches.
Christian pop culture, being so widely available, has been open to much criticism. One charge is that Christian pop culture tends to be superficial, a lot like pop culture. Cultural items that require extensive experience, training, or introspection to be appreciated seldom become items of popular culture. Another claims that Christian pop culture is rooted more in sensationalism than reality.
Within Christianity, it is often criticized for being too secular. It is sometimes seen as being pushed by corporations to produce public consumerism, despite internal claims that it is based upon spirituality.