Jesus Followers and Pop Culture: Separate or Permeate?

It started way back when with a debate about faith-based education versus public schools. Bit by bit, we set up the parallel universes of Christian music, television, radio, books, and magazines, followed more recently by a fledgling attempt at creating "faithful" movie companies. This separate-but-never-equal trend continues on the Internet, where the success of any site in the world spawns a "Christian, safer, friendlier" version, like conservapedia (vs. Wikipedia), or zigvid (vs. YouTube), and now social networking sites like Xianz (vs. MySpace and Facebook).

As parents of faith, we're often warned to keep our kids safely within such church-generated places, whether real or virtual, but is that how they'll learn to exert influence and represent our King? Let's go back to the ancient advice in the book of Proverbs instead, where we're instructed to "train up our child in the way he should go." This means knowing whether our child is able to be a diplomat in difficult places, or if he'll be tempted to revoke his Kingdom citizenship and run for the hills.

A handful of brave young people are able to shine like beacons in the most stressful of arenas; some need a watchful eye as they travel here and there; a few require constant parental companionship; and at the far end of the spectrum, other lambs must never step foot in certain places (which, for a certain kind of person, might even bear a Christian label). It's up to us to discern the state of our children's hearts. God be with us as we do.

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