Monday, June 6, 2011

Turn Back the Night, by Stephen R. Lawhead


Excellent, if amusingly dated. Lawhead's pop culture examples range from Dynasty to Dukes of Hazzard to Olivia Newton John to Flashdance. The times, they have a-changed. And the industry has changed with them--I think television is not quite as simplistic and straightforward as it was in the '80s; the gap between popular literature and "serious" literature is closing; and with the rise of the indie music scene, many musicians actually do care about artistic integrity and technical excellence. The '80s were admittedly an insanely commercial era--substance was not particularly prized. Still, many of Lawhead's conclusions remain valid. He opposes a wholesale rejection or acceptance of pop culture, and advocates instead for discerning and selective consumption. He also has some very harsh things to say about the contemporary Christian genre, which was particularly unimpressive (from a quality and excellence standpoint) in the '80s. Indeed, many of his recommendations have come to pass. For example, it is much easier now to find Christian reviews of secular books/movies/television/music. Indeed, the advent of the internet has provided a glut of reviews of all shapes and sizes. A consumer wishing to do his due diligence is more than adequately equipped to do so.

All in all, a decent read. Lawhead's theology is a bit wonky, but the bulk of the book is about practical application of Christian morality, and that does not seem to be too affected by his unusual theological beliefs.

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