Academic journal article Sociological Viewpoints

Christotainment: Selling Jesus through Popular Culture

Academic journal article Sociological Viewpoints

Christotainment: Selling Jesus through Popular Culture

Article excerpt

A Review of Christotainment: Selling Jesus through Popular Culture by Shirely Steinberg and Joe Kincheloe (eds.) Westview Press: Boulder, CO., 309 pages

Good God, Now THAT's Christotainment!

Whether you are a lifelong fan of Jesus or just now joining the bandwagon, there is no denying Christianity's rising popularity in American media. Steinberg and Kincheloe edited a collection of papers on the topic in Christotainment: Selling Jesus through Popular Culture, wherein readers discover how Christianity has ditched its longtime aversion to media in favor of adding Christian flavor to numerous aspects of everyday life. For readers who enjoyed Maher's (2009) humor in Religulous or occasional religious innuendo in "Family Guy," Steinberg and Kincheloe shed similar light on a seemingly dead subject. Chapters describe the recent marriage between Christian messages and extant media icons like NASCAR and Veggie Tales. This book is not the empirical project that The Psychology of Religion (Hood, Hill, and Spilka 2009) offers and lacks the discourse-setting umph of Armstrong's (2009) The Case for God. Still, it lands on the book shelf in a void so perhaps its drawbacks are forgivable.

Is the church using entertainment to fill empty pews? Christianity has long been the chosen way of life for some individuals, but now, as if the church attended "Advertising 101" at a local community college, old ideas are repackaged and marketed for public consumption; tah-dah, this is Christotainment! The result: Jesus and Christian ideals weave their way into many products fit for consumer purchase. Sometimes discrete, sometimes not, Christotainment is about Jesus-as-product and each chapter reveals the deepening connection between Christian beliefs and music, NASCAR, major motion picture, and children's toys. …

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