The Pop Culture Parent: Helping Kids Engage Their World for Christ (eBook)

Theodore A. Turnau, III, E. Stephen Burnett, Jared Moore
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Parents often feel at a loss with popular culture and how it fits in with their families. They want to love their children well, but it can be overwhelming to navigate the murky waters of television, movies, games, and more that their kids are exposed to every day.

Popular culture doesn’t have to be a burden. The Pop Culture Parent equips mothers, fathers, and guardians to build relationships with their children by entering into their popular culture–informed worlds, understanding them biblically, and passing on wisdom.

This resource by authors Jared Moore, E. Stephen Burnett, and Ted Turnau provides Scripture-based, practical help for parents to enjoy the messy gift of popular culture with their kids. By engaging with their children’s interests, parents can explore culture while teaching their children to become missionaries in a post-Christian world.

By providing realistic yet biblical encouragement for parents, the coauthors guide readers to engage with popular culture through a gospel lens, helping them teach their kids to understand and answer the challenges raised by popular culture.

The Pop Culture Parent helps the next generation of evangelicals move beyond a posture of cultural ignorance to one of cultural engagement, building grace-oriented disciples and cultural missionaries.


Ted Turnau teaches culture, religion, and media studies at Anglo-American University in Prague, Czech Republic. He has a PhD from Westminster in apologetics and wrote Popologetics (2012) to help Christians engage popular culture. Ted Turnau authored The Pop Culture Parent. He and Carolyn have three grown children. Ted enjoys jazz and blues, movies, games, and Japanese culture.

Stephen Burnett explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as publisher of Lorehaven Magazine and cohost of the Fantastical Truth podcast. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. E. Stephen Burnett authored The Pop Culture Parent. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin, Texas area, and serve as church members and foster parents.

Jared Moore serves in pastoral ministry. He has a PhD in systematic theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and cohosts The Pop Culture Coram Deo Podcast. Jared also served as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He authored The Pop Culture Parent. He and his wife, Amber, and their four children enjoy popular culture together.

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“When our children were young, I made a bargain with them: I would listen to Police if they would listen to Duke Ellington. The deal was well intentioned. I thought it was rather generous of me to enter into their world. And all was not lost. I still enjoy the erstwhile popular rock group today, while they like jazz. But I wish I had possessed this book. It would have cautioned me against my paternalism. Ted Turnau and his friends Stephen Burnett and Jared Moore have articulated essential counsel for parents struggling to adopt the right attitudes toward guiding their children, and themselves, into being ‘in the world but not of it.’ The book is founded upon nonnegotiable biblical principles: respect for children, the gift of culture, and the gospel against legalism or perfectionism. It is honest, at times painfully so, and real-life examples abound. But what permeates these pages is love, love that is based on God’s grace and reflected in our understanding devotion to the family.” 
William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia 

“In The Pop Culture Parent, Ted Turnau, Stephen Burnett, and Jared Moore not only effectively remind us that the gospel is relevant to every square inch of our lives but also practically equip us to parent our children with wisdom and discernment. A helpful, thoughtful, and encouraging book.” 
Bruce Riley Ashford, Provost and professor of Theology and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Letters to an American Christian and The Gospel of Our King 

“As parents of four and a wide age range, my wife and I just entered our fourth decade with small children in our home. The struggle to raise children to know and honor the Lord in a fallen world is real! The Pop Culture Parent is a wonderful and welcomed resource to help parents leverage culture as we seek to ground our children in the gospel. I only wish it would have been written sooner!” 
Paul Chitwood, President of the International Mission Board 

“This book gives us clarity of vision on how parents and kids can navigate the confusing and complex works of entertainment around them. If your desire is to give a Christ-centered vision of enjoying and engaging culture, then The Pop Culture Parent is most certainly for you.” 
Mike Cosper, Author of Recapturing the Wonder; director of Podcasting at Christianity Today 

“I currently have the good fortune to be the parent of three teenagers, and I’m always wondering, Have we done enough to keep our children from godless influences they encounter in movies and music? Have we unwittingly given them over to the culture to a point that we’ve abdicated our responsibility to train them up in the fear of the Lord? Have we made Christ shine more brightly than the brightest pop culture stars? As the first generation of parents with children who have smartphones, this is a heavy task. I am grateful this compelling book has come along just in time to provide so much winsome, balanced, gospel-centered wisdom to help parents in shepherding our children’s hearts toward green pastures of godliness even as myriad attractive voices clamor for the throne of their hearts.” 
Jeff Robinson, Author; lead pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky; senior editor for The Gospel Coalition  

“I have always believed the comic con crowd to be an unreached people group, largely overlooked by evangelical Christians who would rather create subcultures than reach the broader culture head on, so I am always pleased to discover books like this that speak to geeks like me. 

Christian parents can neither hide their kids from all forms of pop culture nor altogether ignore its influence on their worldviews. But as Turnau, Burnett, and Moore show us in The Pop Culture Parent, we can teach our children how to engage the culture in such a way that they discover what is beautiful about it, spot its idols, and connect the dots between it and the gospel.” 
Rhyne Putman, Associate professor of Theology and Culture, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary 

The Pop Culture Parentis a great recipe. Step 1: Take a teacher, a storyteller, and a pastor—all who love Christ, love their families, and love pop culture. Step 2: Shake vigorously. The result? Biblical, wise, authentic, and practical nourishment for all ages.” 
Daniel Strange, College director, Oak Hill College; author ofPlugged In: Connecting Your Faith to What You WatchRead and Play 

“Pop culture is not an escape from the real world; pop culture is the real world, and parents cannot ignore its influence on their children. This gospel-centered book takes a thoroughly biblical approach to deepening Christian parents’ relationships to their children and cultural consumption by instilling discernment through discipleship. Practical personal stories, conviction, compassion, and a clear sexual ethic will ensure you come away grounded not in fear but faith.” 
Chris Bolt, Husband; father; pastor; professor, Birmingham Theological Seminary 

“Here’s an impressive and engaging resource for the church: circumspect (noting rocks on both sides); broadly conversant (with Scripture, Christian commentators, and cultural phenomena); practical (providing an excellent, five-question, analytical tool for sorting things out); and edgy, (with provocative takes, ripe for discussion). All in all, it’s well suited not only for use in the home but also for group study within the broader family of faith.” 
Mark Coppenger, Retired professor of Christian Philosophy and Ethics, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 

“A thoughtful and downright necessary guidebook for parents in this pop culture-saturated age. I lost track of the times I thought, Oh yes, that’s precisely right, and Ooh, what a great way to approach that. But more than anything I thought, So-and-so could really use this! I applaud the authors of The Pop Culture Parent both for their content and their timing.” 
Kerry Nietz, Award-winning science fiction author  

“Popular culture must be engaged, not escaped. Parents must intentionally guide children through the maze of modern cultural confusion. Avoiding culture is not a viable option. Learning to wisely interact with culture, instead of fearing it, is essential. This helpful book is a roadmap for parents on the journey.” 
Jeff Iorg, President, Gateway Seminary 

“I grew up in the church and somehow came to believe that ignorance of pop culture was a sign of godliness. The Pop Culture Parent has caused an oh-so-needed paradigm shift! Who knew that the glory of God was shining from pop culture, that Christians can enjoy Christ while watching Star Wars? This book has given me a biblical and accessible new way to point my children to Christ.” 
TJ Cunningham, American artist 

The Pop Culture Parent is more than a how-to guide. At once convicting and equipping, it challenges Christian adults (especially parents) to engage with popular culture as part of their Christian walks and teach the children and teens in their lives to do the same. This book is essential reading for anyone who desires to navigate today’s culture with a Christian mind and heart.” 
Elijah David, Author of Albion Academy; parent of one 

“This isn’t just a book on culture; it’s a book on Christian parenting. Pop culture parenting is a topic requiring a delicate balance of freedom to water a child’s imagination while simultaneously guiding them toward glorifying God in all that they do. This book struck that balance in a beautiful way.” 
Marian Jacobs, Staff writer for Lorehaven magazine 

“Piercingly insightful, culturally cognizant, and graciously balanced, The Pop Culture Parent provides a much-needed resource for parents who want to enter their children’s world and embody Christ’s example.” 
Cap Stewart, Writer; speaker; author 

The Pop Culture Parent avoids the extremes of similar books by approaching pop culture as neither irredeemable and thoroughly corrupt nor as a neutral vehicle for gospel truth. The authors manage to explore issues as complex as theology, psychology, and sociology while keeping things fun and interesting, but always with an eye toward their practical application for child-rearing parents. Readable, common-sense, and cutting-edge relevant.” 
Mike Duran, Novelist; blogger; speaker  

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1 Review

  • 5
    Great help for parents interacting with popular culture

    Posted by Wendy on 10 12 2020

    An excellent resource for parents considering how to raise children in the current climate, specifically focussing on how they interact with popular culture, and teach them to do so with an appreciation and an awareness of the good, yet aware of the idols within. Popular culture includes human-created works that occupy common spaces, and so we start to appreciate its extensive reach into our lives via TV, the internet, music, advertising, movies, video games, books, social media, and so on. The authors consider what gospel-centred parenting looks like, contrasting it with hands-off parenting and endless child-proofing, and give five questions to assist families as they engage popular culture: - What is the story? - What is the moral and imaginary world? - What is good true and beautiful In this world? What are the common grace elements that are present? - What is false and idolatrous? What are the idols in this story, what does it suggest is the best way, or the way that wins? - How is Jesus the true answer to this story’s hopes? The remainder of the book considers how to explore popular culture with children of different ages, giving a worked example for each (Frozen, Star Wars, and Fortnite). For each stage, they outline the main areas to consider when engaging culture with children, lining them up with the physical, mental and social changes they are undergoing. This will include being aware of the messages about physical bodies and sexuality, how it encourages them to think and feel, and what it suggests about the community around them. I really appreciated the authors’ willingness to engage with popular culture, not shutting it down and refusing to interact with it, but also neither embracing it wholeheartedly without analysis. Parents are helped to develop and implement wise principles that apply across the range of parenting, as your family interacts with popular culture. Highly recommended.

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