Thursday, April 16, 2015

All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture (Book Review)

The book blurb sounded interesting: "readers may be surprised to find redeeming values and gospel messages in today's movies, music, popular TV shows..."  With its attention-demanding cover and an interesting premise, I thought this might be a good read.

Author Kevin Harvey points out how ingrained Biblical references are in our pop culture, even as mass media seems to be turning against Christians.  We have dubious and inconsistent Christian characters (Mindy's boyfriend in The Mindy Project,  Sheldon's mother in The Big Bang Theory). There are spiritual aspects to the once-popular TV show Lost and Biblical themes in movies such as Man of Steel and Bruce Almighty.  Harvey even includes a chapter on Biblical words, verses, and themes that are found in contemporary culture:  David and Goliath,  "double-edged sword," "go the extra mile,",and "fight the good fight".

This is a quirky book and one that won't appeal to everyone.  Readers certainly won't be encouraged by the fact that most Biblical references are wildly mishandled.  Writers, directors, actors, and musicians probably don't even realize they're referencing the Bible in their work.  However, this is a useful book for anyone who works with youth or coworkers who are steeped in popular culture.  It provides some hooks for conversation about what the Gospel really is.  Harvey doesn't praise all these pop culture references, he merely examines them and shows how popular culture is still searching for hope and salvation, despite the hipster attitude.

As he explains in the Afterword, pop culture only gives half the Bible.  It's up to us to provide the second half.

The strangest part of this book is the collection of puzzles, mazes, and games at the end of the book.  I'm still not sure why that's there, except to be fun.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in return for an honest review.

The Bible in Pop Culture
Kevin Harvey
Thomas Nelson, 2015