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The College has created this website to help build awareness and understanding about its educational approach to helping students learn to engage popular culture as Christians. In a question and answer section, we try to address several of the key questions the College is asked about this topic by students, parents, alumni and others. If you would like to talk further about the information on this site or about Messiah's educational approach to cultural engagement, please contact Vice Provost and Dean of Students, Kris Hansen-Kieffer.
Messiah's Educational Approach
Messiah College encourages its students to actively engage popular culture. At Messiah, we choose to engage with popular culture for the same reasons we are engaged with natural sciences, fine arts, literature, and social sciences: all of these are important parts of our world. In order to send our students into the world as servants, leaders, and reconcilers, they must know how to actively engage these areas as Christians.
Part of the reason why popular culture has become a maligned topic within society is that it frequently is not engaged. When participation with popular culture is passive, it can be harmful because values can be either uncritically or unconsciously accepted by the participant. One alternative to this indiscriminate approach is to attempt to shut out the world of popular culture. Not only is this an isolating and impractical approach in today’s society, we think it is also not appropriate theologically and is not effective in impacting our world for Christ.
As Christians we are called to be in the world but not of it. The passive approach is dangerous because it is of the world, while the dismissive approach ignores the call to be in the world. We do not endorse either a passive or dismissive approach to popular culture. Instead we practice an active and responsible engagement that understands and appreciates the tension of being in the world but not of it.
(Source: Adapted from the Messiah College Philosophy of Cocurricular Engagement with Popular Culture.)
Messiah College's Pop Culture Q&A