Ted Turnau on Pop Culture and Worship

Posted: January 29, 2015 by Blaine Grimes in Uncategorized

photo 3Ted Turnau on pop culture and its ability to aid us in our worship:

Worship is perhaps the most basic, fundamental aspect of life with God. Doesn’t the Westminster Shorter Catechism put it as Q&A number 1? “What is the chief end of man: to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” (Or, I quite like John Piper’s spin on that: to glorify God by enjoying him forever.) A proper understanding of the Christian life subsumes every activity, thought, word and deed under the heading of “worship.” Everything in our lives is supposed to be about worshipping God.

There’s one teeny tiny little problem: I’m really bad at it. My heart tends to be sluggish and cold when it comes to worship. When I pray, I try to start with some time just adoring God, and it always feels like climbing up a steep hill. Maybe I’m just too self-focused, or distracted, or whatever. But I think the cardinal problem is a failure of my imagination. When confronted with infinite beauty and power and love and wisdom and perfection, my mind just collapses and I fall back on clichés that sound hollow, even to me. I don’t think this failure of imagination is my problem alone. In fact, I see it in a lot of Christian popular culture as well: it’s trying to describe someone so spectacular and mind-blowing, it often falls back on sentimental metaphors and ends up being saccharine fluff.

And here’s where I think non-Christian popular culture can be such a help to us. Non-Christian popular culture (at least the good stuff) is replete with images of awesomeness. It is full to the brim with awesome. This is not random happenstance. That awesome is there for a reason: people made in the image of God cannot help but produce fragmentary and refracted images of the original Awesome. And this means that the awesome in popular culture ultimately points to the (capital A) Awesome God that we serve. Our job, then, as Christians, is to find the awesome and connect it with the Awesome, to ignite our feeble imaginations into worship worthy of him. It has been watching really, really good popular culture – that’swhen I feel my heart warmed to praise. Popular culture, properly understood, can warm the heart to worship.


Click here to read the entire post.  Also, check out his book, Popologetics, here.


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