Pop Goes The Culture
The world of popular culture seems to fly by us and change faster than we can comprehend. As soon as we seem to think we have a grasp on what’s going on, new fads and trends explode on society, leaving us in the dust. In the realm of “pop culture,” being six months behind in our understanding can leave us feeling lost and out of touch. Unfortunately, the evolution that pop culture has taken has been one of a downward spiral. Cultural tendencies show things are only going to get worse.
Take for example the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Despite the main characters, Ricky and Lucy, being married, their bedroom was always shown with two separate beds. Television executives could not even fathom the idea of implying any type of sexual relations were occurring. We’ve come a long way from those days. Today, most primetime television carries overtly sexual themes, most of which occurs outside of marriage. In addition,homosexuality has crept its way onto the airwaves, depicting gay, lesbian, and bisexual relationships as a normal part of life.
Unfortunately, this downward spiral is marketed at the most vulnerable of all groups:teenagers. In the early 1990s, teen programming took on an innocent role with shows like Saved By the Bell, which tried to address teen issues from an almost laughable stand-point. In today’s society, teen programming has taken a more graphic look, as cheesy high school sitcoms no longer attract the interest of this generation. Instead, teens and youngadults have been drawn to shows like Gossip Girl, Grey’s Anatomy, and Family Guy, which brings in viewers because of their vulgarity, rebellion, and promiscuity.
The world of music has not fared any better. The days of Davy Jones are long behind us and a new era has burst through the door. The phenomenon of pop music hit its full stride in the late 1990s. For a time, it was classified as “bubblegum” pop because of its innocence and appeal to pre-teens. Top artists of this genre, such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake of N’SYNC, became household names and the adoration of millions of fans. However, as time has gone by, these same artists have transformed from “innocent” to international sex symbols. Their pop music has been blurred with rap and R&B (Rhythm & Blues), and their lyrics have taken on a much more aggressive tone. Maybe even more popular than their music is their tabloid lifestyles outside of their professions.
As you can see, pop culture is rapidly changing, and it will not slow down anytime soon. The purpose of the following lessons is not to keep you informed of the latest trends, fashions, movies, and gossip. Even if that were attempted, by the time you downloaded this curriculum much of the information would be outdated and many of the people listed would no longer be relevant. Rather, the purpose is to help you and your students discern pop culture with a Christian worldview. Even if you are not able to stay informed about the hottest TV show or who’s dating who, you can use the principles in the following lessons to help you approach culture.
The five lessons in this study will each touch on a specific element of pop culture that influences a teenager’s life. You will discuss a Christian approach to movies, music, TV, materialism, and image. These lessons are designed to get your group members talking and thinking, and hopefully change the way they approach many elements of popculture.
Outreach is very important as you begin a new Bible study. Below you will find the title and descriptions of each lesson so you can announce it in the church bulletin, emails, postcards, text messages, and social networking statuses.
Session 1: Be Careful Little Eyes What You See
In our first session we will discuss how to approach movies from a Christian worldview.
Session 2: Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear
In this session we will discuss how to approach music from a Christian worldview.
Session 3: And Now A Word From Our Sponsors
When we meet this time we will discuss how culture’s view of materialism is not God’s view.
Session 4: (Don’t) Change That Channel
As we gather we will learn how to discern TV from a Christian worldview.
Session 5: We’ll Be Right Back
Our goal for the last session of this study is to learn that we don’t have to match the image our culture portrays.
5 sessions – 27 pages