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Eyes Wide Open: The Book

Looking for God in Popular Culture

Eyes Wide Open Book Cover2002 ECPA Gold Medallion Award Winner,
Christianity and Society
(Brazos Press, 2001, 176pages, paper, ISBN 1-58743-009-6)

"In the tradition of C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, William Romanowski has atriculated a deep theological perspective on culture and the popular arts."

Scott Derrickson, Screenwriter/Director


Grounded in Christian principles, this accessible and engaging book offers an informed and fascinating approach to popular culture. William Romanowski provides affectionate yet astute analysis of familiar, well-loved movies and television characters from Pretty Woman to Homer Simpson. He speaks with expertise on films from Titanic to Casablanca and music from Mozart to Springsteen, bringing sources as diverse as Shakespeare and Allan Bloom into the discussion. Romanowski's confessional approach affirms a role for popular culture in faithful living. Practical, analytical approaches to content, meaning, and artistic style offer the tools to participate responsibly and imaginatively in popular cultural activities. A quick and enjoyable read, Eyes Wide Open is ideal for ordinary Christians ready to more faithfully engage pop culture--one of the most influential forces in contemporary society.


Eyes Wide Open is a "must" book for every thinking Christian who is concerned with popular culture, but who is also concerned with the way Christians can "demonize" that culture.

Steve Brown, President of KeyLife Network and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando

Eyes Wide Open inspires us to be wholly human and wholly Christian—using our faith, our emotion and our brain to fully experience movies, music, television, art. Romanowski encourages us to worry less about "What would Jesus think of me watching this" and more to think like Jesus while watching. As a Christian in Hollywood, this book revitalized and legitimized my "calling" in the entertainment industry. We can produce entertainment that is aesthetically excellent and promotes a worldview based on God’s influence in our lives.

Brenda Bos, Television Production Manager, Suddenly Susan, Nikki

This is a lively and much needed Christian perspective on the popular arts—helping the reader to move beyond a mindless acquiescence to popular culture on the one hand, and blanket condemnation on the other. The style is direct and accessible, giving it a natural appeal to a wide audience.

Dr Jeremy Begbie, Ridley Hall, Cambridge and University of St. Andrews

William Romanowski confronts the culture with his eyes wide open to the negative effects it can have upon us. He also informs us of ways we can increase our understanding of the world in which we live and thus be aided in the task of addressing our culture in a relevant way. His commentary on contemporary music and films will get the Christian reader to discern things that otherwise would go unnoticed in the world round about us.

Tony Campolo, Professor of Sociology, Eastern College

Among those working at the intersection of faith and popular culture, Bill Romanowski uniquely blends the mind of the academic, the heart of a disciple of Jesus, and the ear of a dual listener who hears a conversation between faith and culture and helps interpret both. His matrix for analyzing popular artworks is especially useful. Eyes Wide Open is an essential resource for the emerging cadre of Christians who desire to engage culture effectively.

Dick Staub, President, Center for Faith and Culture, CRS Productions

Eyes Wide Open is a wonderfully caring book. It seeks to meet a pressing, legitimate need of the church by answering the questions: How should a student/follower of Jesus think about culture? And, having thought, what does action look like? Romanowski is one of the kings of cultural analysis and critique. Every disciple of Jesus ought to avail themselves of his royal expertise.

Charlie Peacock-Ashworth, Record Producer and Author of At The Crossroads: An Insider's Look at Contemporary Christian Music

I love the broader perspective of Eyes Wide Open, especially as a Christian working in the business. Particularly his observation regarding our naïve assumptions over or under spiritualizing the movie and television business. Bill keeps bringing us back and challenging us (me) as to how we can develop a grid to sift entertainment against our Christian worldview.

Ralph Winter, Producer X-MEN, Star Trek VI. Executive Producer Planet of the Apes

As a screenwriter working in Hollywood, I appreciate Bill Romanowski's thoughtful challenge to people of faith to move beyond mere moralizing and melodrama. He dares us to think critically, to create truthfully, and to respond authentically to our complex twenty-first-century culture."

Craig Detweiler, Co-Director, Reel Spirituality, Fuller Theological Seminary

This is a work of a passionate imagination and incisive intellect. Romanowski proposes a crisp approach to criticism that salutes popular culture and commends religious faith. His cheerleading for varied expressions of popular culture are sobered by advancing a Christian criticism that is not mired in mobilized moralisms but is spiced with theological themes. The cineplex and the sanctuary will both be blessed by paying critical attention to this important book. I thank William Romanowski for assisting us in seeing the connections between Stanley Kubrick and the Christian worldview.

Rev. Scott D. Young, Founder & Chair, City of Angels Film Festival

Romanowski has done it again. Thought provoking and true—a must read!

Barry Landis, Vice President/General Manager, Atlantic Records

In the tradition of C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, William Romanowski has articulated a deep theological perspective on culture and the popular arts. He urges Christians to love music and the movies as God would have us love them--not as passive consumers, but as thoughtful critics who are wide awake and enthusiastically enjoying the whole of God's creation.

Scott Derrickson, Screenwriter/Director


Eyes Wide Open is a fascinating, easy-to-read guide for interpreting and evaluating popular culture as a Christian. Romanowski's practical, analytical approaches to movies, music and television programs provide tools for imaginatively and faithfully engaging the media that now saturates our lives.

Christian Retailing

This book will raise as many questions as it seeks to answer, and as many hackles as it seeks to soothe....But if you have a passion for the arts and a strong intellectual bent, this book is a must read.


[Romanowski] uses a challenging classroom style, making some bold and often profound statements that invite us to rethink our relationship to mainstream pop art and the sometimes benign benefits we bestow on Christian alternatives.

CCM Magazine

[Eyes Wide Open] provides a terrific overview of culture...This book is a fine introduction to popular culture.


...a thought-provoking examination of the Hollywood mythology that still permeates our culture and the cummulative effect of unrealistic approaches to complex problesm of life.

Library Journal

Recommend this book to Christians who want to develop a deeper appreciation and discernment of popular media's influences.

CBA Marketplace

...this book will be an encouragement to evangelicals looking for an alternative to moralistic criticism of popular culture.

Publishers Weekly

[Eyes Wide Open] builds a case for engaging popular culture and evaluating it from a Christian perspective....Romanowski's main argument...holds true: Christians should think about what they ingest, expose entertainment's destructive messges, and hold up the positive aspects. Anyone seeking a cogent discussion on pop culture will love this book....

Group Magazine easy-to-read, highly engaging guide for interpreting and evaluting popular culture from a Christian perspective and framework....Eyes Wide Open is informative, rewarding, insightful, and strongly recommnded reading for parents, pastors, teachers and teens.

Midwest Book Review

Romanowski offers easy-to-read analyses of pop culture, with the goal of encouraging Christians to understand our culture and help make it better.

The Mennonite

For any Christian consumer of pop culture, this is fascinating book. After reading it, you may see your favorite film through new, more discerning eyes.


If you're a Christian artist, patron, critic, Eyes Wide Open is for you.


Romanowski's Eyes Wide Open is the one book that offers Christian readers a critical and constructive perspective on the popular arts and culture.

Christian Week

For those Chrsitians who value popular culture as a resource for theological reflection, Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture is an important piece in the puzzle.

Circuit Rider Reviews

A fabulous book that picks up where Francis Schaeffer left off, taking the dialogue about Christians and culture into the 21st century. This is Roaring Lambs on steroids... A must read!

The Discerning Reader

Romanowski is obviously a fan of popular culture. Unfortunately, there is little to recommend this book besides the author's enthusiasm.

Tim Van Meter, Bethany Theological Seminary
(Note: You can't please everyone.)

About the Author

William D. Romanowski





William D. Romanowski is Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College and author of several books. Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture (Brazos Press, 2001) received the 2002 ECPA Gold Medallion Award (Christianity and Society).