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Eyes Wide Open: Episode 2

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Eyes Wide Open book coverEyes Wide Open
Episode 2:
A Christian Cultural Landscape

Key Terms

o God is at Work in the World

o Irony and the Unreliable Narrator

o Believing People

o Fallen World

o Forgiveness and Redemption

o Happy Endings



I. Introduction

To be authentically and responsibly engaged with popular artworks, we need to cultivate an awareness of our own cultural landscape (i.e., our Christian cultural landscape)

II. A Christian Cultural Landscape

A. God is at work in the world;
there is an invisible spiritual realm

1. Popular artists depict this reality…

o Star Wars
o Gladiator
o American Beauty
o And others…

2. Popular artists ignore this reality…

o Titanic and Eva Hart

3. God is invisible, but, along with the rest of creation, popular art attests to God and God's work

o As Good As It Gets and loving your neighbor
o Other popular artworks affirm a loss of innocence, wrestling with the nature of evil, yearning for redemption and hope for living amidst evil

4. We account, with difficulty, for
God's presence in popular art

o The difficulty of understanding the entanglement of God's will and our will in The End of the Affair

B. People are believing people

1. A Christian landscape includes people who are meant to worship and serve God but tend not to

2. The characters in popular art ought to be complicated, flawed, and diverse

3. The complexity of the characters in Schindler's List

C. Fallen world: Humans beings are good and evil as popular artworks show us (and should show us)

1. We should expect confused and confusing characters (not just good or bad)

2. The Apostle and Romans 7:19
("the evil I do not want to do")

o Christian art and criticism needs honesty without glorifying sin or sentimentalizing virtuous action

3. Dead Man Walking

o Christian insights must impact how we view story and characterization

4. Christians need to both understand how popular
artists approach sin in their work and maintain
a critical posture toward them

D. Forgiveness and redemption: Our situation evokes
a search for grace

1. Redemption cannot come from us; still, it happens
in us as we are aware of our own brokenness

2. Popular art compels us with redemption,
usually as a power of the human spirit

o Titanic as a titanic example

III. Conclusion

A. Our engagement with popular art ought to exhibit
understanding and insight that is shaped by Christian
convictions, perspectives, emotions, and attitudes

B. Christian art should be an exposé of sin and also winsome, i.e., persuasive in its presentation of life

C. Christian artists, critics, and patrons are responsibly free to engage popular art

D. Christians need to cultivate their engagement strategies because we are to be in the world but not of the world

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