I am in the midst of putting together a proposed syllabus for an introductory Theology and Pop Culture course and would love suggestions/feedback on the best/worst books on the subject. I was thinking of using these 3 as primary texts:


Detweiler, Craig and Barry Taylor. A matrix of meanings : finding
God in pop culture
. Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Academic, 2003.

Romanowski, William. Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in
Popular Culture
. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2007.


Turnau, Ted. Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective. Philipsburg, NJ:
P&R Publishing, 2012.

(I haven’t read too much of Turnau’s book, but it’s been comparatively well reviewed.)

And possibly this one:

Kevin Vanhoozer, Charles A. Anderson, and Michael J. Sleasman, eds. Everyday theology: how to read cultural texts and interpret trends. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.

Here are some other contenders for inclusion, some of which I have read, some of which I have not; any thoughts or suggestions?

Beaujon, Andrew. Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock.
Cambridge, MA: De Capo, 2006.

Breen, Tom. The Messiah formerly known as Jesus : dispatches from the intersection of
Christianity and pop culture
. Waco, Tex. : Baylor University Press, 2008.

Crouch, Andy. Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Downers Grove, IL:
InterVarsity, 2008.

Culbertson, Philip and Elaine M. Wainwright. The Bible In/And Popular Culture: A
Creative Encounter
. Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2010.

Dark, David. Everyday Apocalypse : the sacred revealed in Radiohead, the Simpsons, and
other pop culture icons
. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, c2002.

___________. The sacredness of questioning everything. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan,

Dyrness, William A. Poetic Theology: God and the Poetics of Everyday Life. Grand
Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011.

Forbes, Bruce David, and Jeffrey H. Mahan. Religion and Popular Culture in America.
Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2005.

Hartse, Joel Heng. Sects, Love and Rock & Roll: My Life on Record. Eugene, OR: Cascade
Books, 2011.

Johnston, Robert K., Craig Detweiler, and Barry Taylor, eds. Don’t stop believin’ : pop
culture and religion from Ben-Hur to zombies
. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John
Knox Press, 2012.

Lynch, Gordon, ed. Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular
. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

___________. Understanding Theology and Popular Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell,

Marsh, Clive. “On Dealing with What Films Actually Do to People.” Reframing Theology
and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline
. Edited by Robert K. Johnston.
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007.

___________, with Vaughan S. Roberts. Personal Jesus: How Popular Music Shapes Our Souls.
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

Mattingly, Terry. Pop Goes Religion: Faith in Popular Culture. Thomas Nelson, 2005.

McClure, John S. Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention. Waco, TX:
Baylor University Press, 2011.

Romanowski, William D. Pop culture wars : religion & the role of entertainment in
American life
. Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Scharen, Christian. Broken Hallelujahs: Why Popular Music Matters to Those Seeking
. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2011.

Turnau, Ted. “Popular Culture, Apologetics and the Discourse of Desire,” Cultural
8:2 (2012).

Walsh, Brian. Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination.
     Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2011. (for a little Canadian content!)