At it takes to draw them in But their observations that Christians on the whole watchconsume the same things as everyone else should give believers pause More than anything else Romanowski seems to be challenging the reader to not go blindly to the movies but to engage film and other artistic genres actively to hold them accountable to a Biblical world view not in a moralistic and legalistic manner but rather to point out those poor and inaccurate portrayals or engagements with the way the world is Is the violence mindless and pointless without conseuence and painting the world and its mythos in shades of might makes right or some other subversive philosophy which so insidiously invades action adventure films Then call it to account and highlight its falseness Is sexuality and marriage and relationships portrayed and explored in a way which boxes women and men into gender stereotypes and such Then call it to accountRather than calling for boycotts and picket lines Romanowski wants an active critical engagement which challenges the artists to do better in their art but also encourages and enables others to critically engage the arts as well Thus his title Eyes Wide Open for he is challenging the viewer and believer to see and now what they are perceiving and engage it Biblically Read in the following years20092011 I liked how this book gave ways of analyzing and interpreting different pieces of popular culture namely movies from a Christian perspective But when it got to specific issues the author began beating certain things to death like excessive criticisms of depictions of gender roles and violence but offering little to no explanations of proper views A good read but a little dense in places it doesn t need to be As someone actively involved in the world of popular culture thinking through a Christian perspective of relating to art and artistic works is incredibly important and Dr Romanowski has here established a pretty good introduction to the types of uestions and perspectives that Christians ought to bring to bear on the popular arts Most importantly Romanowski advocates for an active critical engagement over what some see as the traditional Christian perspectives of avoida Neato Looking to level your faith with your culture Try this one on for size In the introduction Romanowski dives right into his subject with some statistics from a Barna Group study which found that born again adults spend an average of seven times hours each week watching television than they do participating inBible reading prayer and worshipthey spend roughly twice as much money on entertainment as they donate to their church And they spend time surfing the net than they do conversing with God in prayer He continues by discussing the different attitudes Christians have concerning media and encourages us to have an engaged critical and productive involvement with popular arts grounded in a faith vision that encompasses life and culture and to be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves when dealing with media He goes on to describe how popular arts often reflect on the current issues in our society In response to people who would brush off the importance of evaluating media Romanowski says developing good critical skills is and practices does not have to ruin the funwe need to look as Christians at the stories that contemporary culture is telling uswe need to have a fair and rigorous Christian criticism one that investigates weaknesses takes pleasure in achievements celebrates virtues and laments failed opportunities Christians should help preserve the best features improve the weakest parts
and eliminate the worst traits of art And this is all just in the introduction The appendixes eliminate the worst traits of popular And this is all just in the introduction The appendixes lists of uestions to help Christians evaluate popular artists and includes a sample evaluation of a movie This unconvincing book over analyzes popular culture mostly movies as being all part of God s creation and made in God s image The author not only makes few good logical points but writes in a style that often connects unrelated examples to a conclusion that s not obvious or well stated Thankfully there are chapter summaries at the end of each just read through those and skip the rest of the bookThe idea that God created everything and therefore all of popular culture reflects His creation is faulty God certainly created all the raw materials but He didn t specifically create what people have done with those raw materials Many things in pop culture if not most show a disregard of God s creation and emphasize trash for the sake of making money This book tries to save all of those things claiming that any film TV show book or musical recording can prove God s handiwork Nice thought but it s an intellectual exercise not reality This line of thinking ends up praising trash for minute moments of light instead of calling it the trash it is It also completely avoids the rare small popular culture projects that do spread God s true light to instead focus on the big name secular entertainment showsThe author shoves down our throat over and over the idea that pop culture should be considered art Wrong It s entertainment for the purpose of making money The author also tries to see God in movies like Pretty Woman Brokeback Mountain and other R rated fare It s wrong headed and shows a mediocre sin accepting approach to who God is and what He creates God created chickens but if a chef makes a bad chicken Kiev that gives people food poisoning it says absolutely nothing about creation a Reformed approach may be to thank God for the chicken no matter how bad the dish tastes or how many people got sick but it actually makes a bit of a mockery of what the Bible means by God creating the earth and putting man over it This theology praises the misuse of creation Most of the movies and TV shows mentioned in the book have only slivers of anything that reflects God and to praise those means people are being fed a lot of bad chickenSo the book fails on all accounts as theology as cultural analysis and as trying to find God in popular culture The author does uote critics of this type of flawed thinking and often those critics are right than he gives them credit for Maybe the author should listen to others in the Christian community instead of spouting his narrow and blind denominational approach. Eaning and artistic style offer the tools to participate responsibly and imaginatively in popular cultural activities An engaging read this new edition introduces students and thoughtful readers to popular culture one of the most influential forces in contemporary socie. .
William D. Romanowski Ù 9 Free read.
Out it in his sixth chapter moral ideological and theological He spends a good half the chapter spatially speaking on the first In my opinion the moral interpretation of the arts and movies in particular is pervasively popular among many critics so utilizing this amount of space to explore and pick apart the difficulties and sometimes blindness or even hypocrisy of such an approach seems appropriate He pretty concisely points out the difficulties of the theological approach And while he does explore the ideological approach it has many of the same difficulties as the moral one as most people utilizing this approach deal with what they might call worldviews or such Ultimately through these explorations Romanowski really draws out how film as a specific artistic outflow of culture has to be approached and considered in the multifaceted way it is conceived produced and even received The seventh chapter really dives into how one critiues andor reviews art Though he primarily has film and its critics in his sights he also touches on music popular music freuently Ultimately he argues for a nuanced approach that recognizes that the artistic elements of any art form contribute to the morality conveyed therein In a sense he is holding to a concept of art wherein good art wields the techniues and possibilities of an art form in a masterful way which accurately and honestly engages the world and reflects the artists perception and worldview Good art does this well poor art does not In a sense his remarks remind of Scruton s comments on beauty and itschAs he moves into the final portion of the book Romanowski begins to engage the uestion of what good Christian art should look like in his eighth chapter He raises four specific things which he thinks should be present or emerge from art specifically Christian art 1 the reality of God at work in the world 2 people who believe in God in habit the world 3 sin and its effects are real and 4 God s offer of forgiveness and the redemption he offers More importantly I think he really works to drive home that Christian concepts and themes are already present in movies to or less degrees I think his argument here is that a truly Christian and Biblical representation and artistic mapping of the world around us would actually be attractive and accepted by the world if it did not reduce itself to an overt and cheesey or itschy evangelicalism I really loved his concluding point about how it is the Christian s struggle with life and his sin which makes his testimony about God attractive People can identify with that Also his note that not all stories must have happy endings is insightful and significant I am specifically thinking of Rogue One and its conclusionAs he begins to move towards the conclusion of his book Romanowski considers some of the underlying themes of Hollywood He spends a decent amount of time on melodrama but also highlights the pervasive theme of the individual determining his own course or path Of course there is element of self discovery which is done individually but also an undercurrent of materialism This latter element seems to associate to some degree moral goodness or rightness with material or financial success Romanowski continues to drive home that these different representations of life
and the real world are idealistic and ultimately simplistic He points towards thethe real world are idealistic and ultimately simplistic He points towards the as having a much nuanced portrayal of human life choices and dilemmas Continually he points towards the truth that Christianity understands humanity in a much nuanced and intimate way than how Hollywood portrays itIn his
TENTH CHAPTER ROMANOWSKI FOCUSES IN ON GENDER AND SEXUALITYchapter Romanowski focuses in on gender and sexuality popular art specifically again spending most of his timespace on movies Ultimately just as in the last chapter he reveals Hollywood s portrayal to be inadeuate most of the time He notes the stereotypes of the strong virile unattached man of adventure and the ideal woman as a wife and mother a mainstay of heart and home 205 Of course the latter is also expected to be both virginal and erotic a contradiction which popular art often orients towards the satisfaction of the man He takes time to rather thoroughly explore Pretty Woman and how it portrays these different themes of sexuality and gender Fascinatingly it is not in just how it portrays them but how it portrays each character moving into them that is most compelling The movie is structured so that the audience nows there has been a redemption or even saving of the characters when they have finally accepted and stepped into those roles He concludes with a very pointed discussion on the portrayal of sex in the movies Again and again both in regards to gender roles and then in his conclusion as it considers sexuality he raises up the Bible as an authority that portrays sexuality and gender roles in a much complex and true way He seems to be arguing for portrayalsexplorations of sexuality that do not denigrate humanityWhere Chapter 10 focused on gender and sexuality Chapter 11 turns to consider the depiction and elevation of violence in film One of the harshest criticism Romanowski levels against evangelicals in particular but Christians in general is their almost complete lack of engagement on the violence in movies especially if there are Christian themes to celebrate He charges that many Christians seem concerned about nudity and sexuality than about violence Though he doesn t spend too much time drawing parallels with the Bible he does point out that Scripture portrays and explores violence in as grand a scale as any hollywood portrayal but
doesn t flinch from showing the conseuences of the violence or how truly impacts those who engage in it and the lives it destroys Scripture has a fully fleshed out portrayal of sin and the depravity of man He argues for Christians to be critical about the sentimentalized cultural values that run against the grain of faith 221In the short conclusion at the end of the book Romanowski finally notes the commercial success andor failure of several different movies something I found lacking throughout the rest of his book The reason he does this though is to highlight the targeting that production companies are engaging in specifically in regards to religious consumers They are aware of the possible market they can tap and exploit yet they do not uite grasp wh. Homer Simpson and he speaks with historical depth and expertise on films from Casablanca to Crash and music from Bruce Springsteen to U2Romanowski's confessional approach affirms a role for popular culture in faithful living Practical analytical approaches to content I thought a lot of the points made in this book were good but there was also far too many drawn out examples and sometimes the points were a little too self explanatory Great book outlines how Christians can interact with popular culture and why they should and uses examples of movies to talk through the different points and where those things are seen in actual popular movies Great book with a call to thinking Originally written in 2001 and then revised in 2007 a decade has passed in commercialization and film and cultural development since this book s publication Yet Romanowski s engagement with popular culture is insightful and challenging The balanced approach to art and especially film in this book is encouraging but not easy for it reuires one to watch and view and actually think about what one is seeing But the book on the whole is a call to critical engagement with the arts and especially film He is pretty harsh when it comes to the mindless boycotting and protests by Christians and evangelicals of hollywood and the movies produced therein for they support and offer up just as mindless an engagement with the world as the melodramas which make the movie industry so much moneyThe writing tone is conversational and engaging and I found each chapter a pretty concise and easy read He provides summary notes and interaction uestions at the end of each chapter which make it an excellent book for youth groups or small groups to utilize Honestly I think everyone could stand to read and think about what he talks about in the book Many major films classics now are talked about and a few are engaged at a little in depth level like Titanic and Pretty Woman and the observations and implications of what they say about life and happiness and gender roles etc is as fascinating as it is chilling with implications which I think modern women s rights LGBT and even other liberal groups would find appalling if they actually recognized itIf you like actually thinking about film and what it says to us and what it says about us you ll love this book If you love the movies I think you ll be fascinated by this book And if you find yourself complaining about Hollywood or the horribleness of movies these days read this and be challenged on where you truly need to engage and critiue popular entertainmentIf you want to read a in depth consideration of the book I ve included my chapter by chapter summariesthoughts EnjoyFirst off I love that each chapter has an excellent summary section with bullet points of the main ideas of each chapter That said I will only touch on a few that stuck out to me This first chapter really looked at and considered the rise of mainstream Christian media specifically CCM I think Romanowski rightly zeroed in on Amy Grant s career and transition to a secular practice He also rightly highlights evangelicals mindless embrace of secular culture s practice especially in how they built their on miniature entertainment industry I was fascinated and intrigued by his use of the term confessional to talk about this impetus in evangelicalism for its artwork to somehow be overtly evangelistic or just religious it s just a very traditional feeling term being applied to a very modern situation On the whole I think the chapter was a way to utilize the modern evangelical entertainment industry as a way to move towards talking about culture which is supposedly the focus of the next chapterThe second chapter builds the Christian s approach of culture from the foundation of God s creation of the world and mankind From the mandate God gave mankind from the beginning to create and tend and eep and subdue the earth He points towards Christians living this out as ones who are creating culture and engaging culture Anit doesn t flinch from showing the conseuences of the violence or how
interesting argument he makes is to not make the delineation of Christian andargument he makes is to not make the delineation of Christian and spheres of one s life but rather that secular should merely point towards those areas in one s life where there is an absence of faith
conviction and perspective in performing activities 52 Significantly he also points towards howand perspective in performing activities 52 Significantly he also points towards how and his three friends dealt with the culture of Babylon where they were They didn t disengage yet they also did not become what the culture demanded they be They learned how to live in the midst of a fallen culture and be what God had called them to be thereIn the third chapter Romanowski first delves into what a worldview is and the significance of one s cultural orientation These he connects to cultural ideology and a culture s myths This latter part is where the chapter really became intriguing in my mind He points out that narrative is highly significant in containing and transmitting myth and ideology He starts with a fascinating analysis
Of Rocky Before Moving OnRocky before moving on note the commonalities and differences between Erin Brokovich and Billy Elliot The culminating argument in Romanowski s fourth chapter is that to properly engage understand and utilize contemporary or popular art you can t just try to justify it as high art It is uniue in its creation and cultural situation and it must be approached and understood there Throughout the chapter he works through some of the differences between high art and popular art in places essentially euated with entertainment though not uneuivocally His acknowledgement of the class distinctions of high art was insightful and one I haven t seen too many other places He also highlights the reality that many people struggle with or succumb to the temptation to euate aesthetic experiences with religious ones This struggle lies in how entertainment or artistic practice the aesthetic experience engages the imagination in a very similar manner to the artsIn his fifth chapter Romanowski begins to engage what contemporary art is He takes a little time to differentiate between popular art and entertainment and to even argue that to call popular art merely entertainment is wrong A significant point he explores is that of popular art functioning as a map of reality Then in the latter part of the chapter he transitions to arguing for the significance of the artist s worldview for how it shapes their art and interacts with culture providing a map which interprets the world through their worldviewTurning towards how people tend to analyze or critiue art specifically movies Romanowski highlights three ways people go ab. Grounded in Christian principles this accessible and engaging book offers an informed and fascinating approach to popular culture William D Romanowski provides affectionate yet astute analysis of familiar well loved movies and television characters from Indiana Jones to.