Saturday, April 30, 2011

The End of Being Culturally Relevant

It's over.

I was the guy who had all the film references. From "Game Over, Man!" to "Welcome to the party, pal!" to "Bring out yer dead!". Obscure Lyrics? Had 'em. Song recognition? Unbeatable, thanks to eight years of working on the loading docks at Dayton's Ridgedale with KQRS blairing 50 hours a week.

But it's now over. Why? I hit my limit. I had to put down one of the most popular books available today because I while I found it funny, it was too crass and vulgar for me to read on.

"In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks", by Adam Corolla. A book with all the manly answers and opinions to life's current hot topics.

Me? I laughed all the way until the choice of words started burning my eyes (I'm not sure why he thought all the word choices were needed. His PG versions on the radio were just as, if not more, funny).

I'm just not able to deflect the constant barrage of language and word pictures described without it seeping into my every day thoughts. When my first thought response to a news story or co-workers opinion is lifted straight from the most colorful parts of the book, I know something needs to end.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm not as strong to compartmentalize my exposure to media like I was used to, or if I'm finally realizing I never was able to compartmentalize and I'm just now beginning to see what I read is lodged deep in my thoughts waiting to come out (By the way, do you find that what you read is lodged deeper than any visual? I sure do).

Music is the same way. I LOVE the Cee Lo Greene song. Yep...THAT song. But I listen to it once and it stays with me for days. Even the clean version. By the way, who was the snake who convinced the world that "clean" versions are, well, clean? Any eight year old with public bussing instinctively replaces the bleeps or "Forget You"s with the real thing. Maybe it was well-meaning parents like me? Well, it backfired.

Films? Ditto. I'm either more squeamish, more of a wuss, or less manly (probably all three). Or, maybe I'm finally tired of having a gory or titillating scene replay in my mind during my work day, family night, or in the middle of a worship service. Yep. It seems the most intense culture clips pop up most during a worship service.

What does all this mean? I don't know. But it make me sad.

I'm sure some would say...

..."You're growing as a Believer"
Maybe, but it still makes me sad. Which makes me doubt any growth.

..."You're nicely not loving the things of this world"
But it seems less fun. The alternatives seem more boring and less engaging. And for me there’s a lot to love in this world.

..."You now can fill your thought life on what really matters"
I don't know. I think my God-o-meter is broken. My faith is sound, but it just seems so dull right now.

..."The culture is trash, and you should be happy to be out of it"
I seem to find something meaningful and reflective in most everything I watch/listen/read. To me, the Truth can shine just as brightly in a Rolling Stones song as it can a Keith Green song (and sometimes be more effective because it’s less preachy). To just cut out current pop culture makes me less able to have open conversations with others and just isn't that appealing.

The problem is that the bad parts are cutting into me too deeply to continue to participate.


At this point, I'm supposed to have some inspirational twist that leaves me feeling good, and hopefully you, too. Not this time. I feel a loss...almost like a part of me died that I already miss. I should probably do something overt like start a side-blog called "365 days to find what really matters". Possibly. But I'm so weary I'm afraid it'll be day after day of "didn't find what matters today"   "not today either"  "nope"  "Found despair today. I hope that's not what matters".

Can you relate? *

(*note: I was going to end with ‘Can you relate?’, in hopes to start a conversation…and all I ended up thinking of was that I’ve succeeded in referencing an obscure Prince lyric. Sometimes my mind plays some pretty cruel jokes on me.)


  1. It's always a finely tuned dance between being able to converse with the most hip person in our culture versus allowing the base culture to permeate our hearts.

    Paul said, "if any...think on these things." That is our standard yet the men of Issachar were highlighted by God in the Old Testament as men who "understood the times and knew what to do." I think that should be our goal, in the world, but not of it, aware of what is going on in the world and being able to wisely confront the emptiness. But, like you, I must admit it is not always an easy victory. hh

  2. HH: Excellent observations. I wonder if it's also perspective. As another posted, it could be a source of joy that I can focus on a smaller subset of culture that can still challenge and be a trigger of conversation.

    Thanks for the reflections.

  3. I can completely relate. I actually find it condescending when people come back with the responses you list. I continue to find it interesting what our culture deems acceptable language and unacceptable language. I don't always agree. But, what I can agree with is that there is way too much vulgarity and gore in many of our movies/music. It's really unnecessary and just detracts from what ever they originally had to offer. I just choose to not participate in those. I would like to have a face-to-face discussion on this topic some time tho... I struggle with the same questions. Kristi


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