In the evangelical church, there has been a wide range of attitudes toward popular art.
He contrasts “postures” with “gestures,” bodily motions ranging from embracing to being stand-offish.
“Something similar, it seems to me, has happened at each stage of American Christians’ engagement with culture. Appropriate gestures toward particular cultural goods can become, over time, part of the posture Christians unconsciously adopt toward every cultural situation and setting.” (Culture Making, p. 90)Crouch helpfully identifies the historical “postures” that evangelicals have had toward artistic popular culture:
- Condemning Culture
- Critiquing Culture
- Copying Culture, and
- Consuming Culture.
While there are some cultural artifacts that deserve this kind of condemnation (pornography or sadistically violent music come to mind) and it is appropriate at times to use this “gesture,” Crouch correctly states that a permanent “posture” of condemnation is not what Christ wants from his followers.
A posture of condemnation is an easy, simplified way of uncritically dealing with the nuances of art by taking the theologically wrong “secular/sacred dualism” approach.
Next Week: Critiquing, Copying, and Consuming Culture.