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What To Do When You Love Pop Culture A Little Too Much

March 2, 2022

Oh, pop culture – some days I love you, and other days I can’t stand you. On one hand, you provide the world with beautiful ideas and media for us to enjoy. On the other hand, you can put thoughts into our minds that we’d rather not have had there in the first place. 

I’m not sure if you’ve had this experience, but there are some scenes from movies or TV shows that I couldn’t get out of my head and still make me sick to my stomach when they pop up in my head. You know how in Inside Out the brain sent up random memories of that catchy commercial? It’s just like that. I won’t go into detail, but some are grotesque scenes from the TV show Hannibal and others are from movies such as Midsommar and John Adams

But pop culture isn’t all about movies and TV shows – it’s also a lifestyle. 

Keeping up with everything happening on Twitter could be a full-time job (and probably is, in some cases). Our culture can truly be a beautiful thing. God makes each and every one of us unique, and we all have different things to offer. For the ones who are in the spotlight, they get to share it with the whole world, and we can all enjoy their creation through music, design, art, fashion, TV, etc. 

Each person has to find the extent to which they can enjoy pop culture without becoming consumed with it. I think this looks different for everyone. Some people can spend a lot of time around it without being obsessed, but other people get sucked in after a short amount of time. Romans 12:2 (NIV) tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” We need to keep this in mind while we filter how much or how little pop culture we immerse ourselves into. 

How can we make this a reality in our interim time between heaven and the new earth? 

We are stuck in an in-between time where Jesus has died for us but the new heaven and new earth have not yet arrived. We are to live in this world but not be of it. But what does that really mean? 

  • Colossians 3:2 (NIV) – “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” 
  • 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV) – “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 

These are but a few examples of what God tells us to do in our current reality. Above all else, we need to honor Jesus and follow his example. Sure, we will never be perfect and will absolutely mess up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. If we do live as Christ followers, we are promised that we won’t be the most popular people. As 1 John 3:13 (NIV) says, “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” They may not hate us all of the time, but if we truly follow Jesus’ lead and do not live as the world does, we will have plenty of people who at least look at us funny. 

One thing that helps me with the fact that a lot of people might not like me (which is difficult as a people pleaser) is that God promises us so much more than any human ever could: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21, NIV). Yes, we can enjoy the beauty offered through popular culture and appreciate the hard work people have put into their craft. We just also need to remember to look at anything portrayed in pop culture through the lens of the Gospel and how Jesus would be living, if he was living in this day and age. 

I know this can be difficult, since we typically only see one of two examples – either someone is fully immersed and obsessed with pop culture or they completely alienate themselves from it. If we want to be somewhere in the middle, we really have to work at it. A negative of today’s culture is that it wants us to pick a side, so if we’re not choosing a side, we might confuse people. Here is where we have to trust Jesus! In John 8:23 (NIV), Jesus tells us, “‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.’” His ways are so much higher than our ways. His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts. 

Why would we not trust the one who created the world? 

Take a look at your faith, examine the Bible, and consult friends to figure out how you should interact with popular culture of today. Having a support system can really help those of us who are already obsessed with pop culture and help those of us who are not ensure we don’t get to that point.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s the best thing for you as well as what God calls you to do. Be in the world but not of the world.

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