Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Tattooed Jesus - book review

I recently read "The Tattooed Jesus" by Pastor Kevin Swanson which takes an insightful look at our pop culture and the worldviews that it promotes. Our family's lives became radically altered when we started taking Romans 12:2 seriously (do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind....). As we began to spend large amounts of time renewing our minds by the Word, we became increasingly sensitive to the messages portrayed through the media, fashions, education, and overall culture around us. At worst, messages were blatantly antichristian, and at best, the culture certainly did not encourage personal holiness.  Since beginning this journey of renewing our minds, the culture hasn't gotten more Godly... quite the contrary! It is refreshing to find a book that addresses the trends and agenda of our western society.

Pastor Swanson has done an excellent job examining the messages emitted around us. He shows how our humanistic worldview has drastically affected our views of God and how we worship (or don't worship) Him. In our post-modern, anything goes culture, we Christians have largely failed to be the salt and light. We have let the world affect us to the point that we blend right in. Like the frog in the kettle, we don't even recognize that our surroundings have largely overtaken us and our children. We passively and actively expose ourselves to the things which God hates, especially through the media that we turn on in our homes. We call evil good and good evil, and the Word of God has a few things to say about that... We are so desensitized to our culture that we fail to critically discern the underlying messages of authors, songwriters, producers, and companies. Actually, we are so "dumbed down" as a society, that we don't even know that there is an agenda out there that wants to govern how we think. We have entertained ourselves to death and using our brains and seeking discerning wisdom is frankly too much work for our society in general. Swanson carefully delineates these trends within the music, television, movies, literature, body art, piercings, fashion, etc... and exposes the obvious and not so obvious impacts upon our western culture. 

In an era where it is widely popular for the church to be relevant to the culture, this book forces one to ask if that is such a wise thing? Is our "freedom in Christ" being used and abused to give license to do/act/watch anything that makes us feel "right" or happy?  Has our "freedom in Christ" ultimately turned into freedom FROM Christ? Have you even thought about it? Whether you have or haven't, this book will challenge and encourage you to evaluate and engage your culture. 

(I would also highly recommend the book "Apostate" by the same author).