Friday, March 14, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading The New Christians by Tony Jones, which is part history, part explanation of the emergent church movement. I use "emergent" as opposed to "emerging" purposefully, because he does. One would think that I'd be sick of books that explain this movement by now, that maybe I'd move on to books more about how to read the local culture or exploring new church forms. No, let's read another "definition"-type book instead. It might help if there were more non-"definition"-type emergent books out there, but my picking up this book is my own fault. And if I'm being completely honest, I mainly did so because I'd read on another blog that this book contains a little history on why Mark Driscoll hates these guys so much nowadays, and I was curious. And it does. The book itself is as good as any other emergent/emerging "definition" book. What makes this one a little different is it has more of a history of the movement, which I have enjoyed reading. Jones also includes plenty of critique of both evangelical and mainline churches. He even has several specific mentions of the UCC: their "silly commercials" and a quote from Lillian Daniel.

So I finished that, and now have started The Buzzard, which is a history of the "glory days" of WMMS, a rock radio station in Cleveland that helped redefine the industry and rejuvenate the city. It's written by John Gorman, who came in as the station's production manager and was very instrumental in its reinvention process. The "glory days" are listed as happening from 1973-1986. I haven't read far enough to know why Gorman thinks it went downhill after that. I just finished reading about how he came up with The Buzzard nickname and mascot: he saw a cartoon of two buzzards sitting in a tree, where one says to the other, "Patience, my ass. I'm gonna kill something." He thought this reflected the spirit of the times and what he wanted the station's image to be, so they adopted it. Interesting stuff. At times, the book is a little heavy on the technical side of running a station, but it's been a decent read.

Speaking of WMMS, a lot of afternoons I listen to The Maxwell Show. It amounts to a "shock jock" show at times, but I think they hit on some good topics. You have Maxwell, Stansbury, and Chunk, who mainly talk about their lives or something in the news and get people to call and chime in on whatever they're discussing. I even worked them into a sermon a few weeks ago: Maxwell is on a diet, and I was able to mention what he said back when the Gospel Lesson was Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. They're funny, irreverent and entertaining, albeit with a strong dose of crude humor thrown in as well. I've already had to assure Coffeewife that I will not have this show on if Coffeeson is in the car with me. I got no problem with that. In fact, Maxwell and Stansbury got into an argument a few weeks ago over Maxwell's stated decision to "shelter" his newborn daughter. See, that's the kind of stuff they discuss, rather than trying to contrive "shocking" radio. Whatever comes up, they go with it.

Around the web, Street Prophets has been added to the blogroll. It's my new go-to blog to read about the intersection between faith and politics, admittedly with a certain sympathy toward more "liberal" or Democratic causes.

Also around the web, I think we should sing this hymn on Sunday.