The Culturally Savvy Christian

05/09/2007 12:00 AM |

Dick Staub’s punchy subtitle “A manifesto for deepening faith and enriching popular culture in an age of Christianity-Lite” promises a book that is either insightful or inflammatory. Instead, it starts out disjointed and boring. In quoting innocuous sources, much of the book reads like a contemporary religious Trivial Pursuit. Somehow, using quotes on religion from Tom Cruise rather than statistics and hard evidence doesn’t convince one that modern Americans are less religious than they used to be — just that Tom Cruise is.

Staub does eventually make some good points, however, when he speaks of evangelical culture and its flaws. Staub, an evangelical Christian himself, critiques poignantly the evangelical movement, in that its entertainment is artistically inane, its tactics create enemies, and its message focuses on hollow conversion, not substantive faith. His solution involves creating something that is not often seen in contemporary Christian culture: good art and deep faith. If only he could have scrapped the first half.