Christmas, Gentrified (Plus End-Of-The-Year Lists!)
I wanted to share a few things I have been involved in lately, most of it for Christ and Pop Culture.
The first is a little essay I wrote on the gentrification of Christmas--the only term I could think of to explain how we continue to push people away from entering into the season without really meaning to. Here is an excerpt:
I also wanted to say why I have, for the past 2+ years, written off and on again for CAPC. I jokingly tell people it is a Southern Baptist Boy's pop culture website. But srsly, there are southern baptists there (and a lot of boys). Writing for a conservative audience is immensely challenging for me, and continually forces me to face my own personal demons of self-righteousness, judgement, and an over-all tendency to write people off. The editors and writers at CAPC have helped me grow and tune my writing into something that is much more palatable. I am grateful for how much I have learned from them, especially the two dudes that head it up (Richard Clark and O. Alan Noble). We disagree about so much and we agree about so much too.
Isn't this the way of the world? My life can feel so fragmented at times--my neighborhood, my students, my community, the online world, the evangelical church at large--that I constantly feel as though I have whiplash. The easiest solution would be to disengage, to throw myself into my immediate community (which is what many people do, and I love them). But this writing thing is like a little worm within my soul, it will not stop. I am continually reaching out and above my immediate context for . . . what, exactly? Connection? Empathy? Understanding? To Exhort? To Instruct? To find Beauty? To Make Sense of it All? Yes, yes, yes. And that is why writing for CAPC has been one vital part of figuring out how to make my voice be stretched beyond what is comfortable to me. You should have seen this essay before my editor Tyler Glodjo got a hold of it :)
So that's my little plug for all you writers and thinkers out there. Write where it stretches you.
On that note, I also was a part of helping CAPC think through their top 25 list of 2014. The list ended being so weird and eclectic and all-around amazing. I certainly don't like everything on the list (too much violence!) but man is it interesting (and I love to listen to people argue for what they find compelling).
So here is something embarrassing. I was a part of a nearly 3 hour long podcast where we decided what the ultimate list would be--and talk a lot about pop culture in general. The first podcast is here and the second is here. Part 2 especially gets into some really interesting discussions of what the themes of the year turned out to be--and the themes of systematic injustice and a need for repentance came out quite strongly. So if you want to hear my dorky voice talk about stuff like Brooklyn 99, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Serial, go on and listen! Also, it turns out I am quite the cackler.
For the more visually-minded, you can check out the write-up of the lists on the CAPC website. I wrote the blurb for our number one pick (can you guess what it is?). I would love if you agree/disagree! Also, the illustrations are fantastic (all by Seth T. Hahne, a national treasure).
I am currently having a blast hanging out with my family (and brand new nieces and nephews!) and I sincerely hope you are having a wonderful week yourself. I will be back soon with an epic My Year In Reading Post, which I have been geeking out for awhile.