Dan Strange – Plugged In: Connecting your faith with what you watch, read and play
Good Book Company 160 pages £7.99 ISBN-13: 978-1909919419
“Culture is the stories we tell that express meaning about the world.”
Dan Strange helps us to reflect on how we interact with the stories that shape human identity, meaning and longing. The author encourages us in this task because “we cannot escape culture but we can engage culture”.
Strange seeks to define culture, provides guidelines on how we can wisely engage with culture and helps the reader think about how we might use what we see in culture to inform our evangelism. This involves what Strange describes as confronting and connecting with culture.
What Strange suggests is that the reader develops an instinct that runs our cultural experience through a Christian filter. We learn to affirm what is positive, while seeing the flaws and limitations of its preoccupations and longings. This allows us to achieve a critical distance that helps us to discern how the gospel might address each cultural expression.
Based on Paul’s famous engagement with the Athenian Philosophers on Mars Hill, Strange proposes a four-steps strategy for using cultural reflection to prepare us for witnessing to our society. The four steps are:
Entering – Exploring – Exposing – Evangelising
There is something deceptively simple about using these four steps that helps equip us to use the stories that we live and tell as launchpads for helping people think about the greatest story ever told.
Strange gives five examples of cultural stories that can be used as a basis for evangelism, these are: The song: “Football’s Coming Home”, Adult Colouring Books, Birdwatching, Zombie literature and films, and The Japanese Domestic Toilet!
This book would be useful to anyone who wants to think more carefully about books they read, things they watch, sites they visit online, and the places they see. It might just be the stimulus we need to turn common cultural experiences into opportunities to witness.
John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex