I traipsed in through the front door. The hostess glanced up and started to tell me that there would be a wait, but I interrupted her- my friends were already at a table. I was hungry and would apologize for being short with her later. I hadn’t been to this particular restaurant in more than a year, but I knew what I wanted. I’d been thinking about it ever since I bought my plane ticket to D.C.
I saw my crew sitting in the far back part of the restaurant. A waitress stood at the table, scribbling orders. I rushed over, threw myself into a chair and looked at her in anticipation. I didn’t even grab a menu, I knew what I wanted and I was ready to eat. I had to order then, because I was the kind of hungry that makes people mean and crazy. My stomach had consumed my brain forty-five minutes earlier then rampaged all over the metro between Georgetown and where we were on the hill.
My heart may have skipped a beat when she looked at me, “I’ll take the Mexican caesar salad, please.” I smiled and turned to the group of people who I hadn’t even had a chance to greet.
“I’m sorry. We took that off the menu months ago.”
“Why would you do that?” Normally, I’m not so rude, but my stomach isn’t as kind as my brain.
“People just weren’t ordering it. So we took it off. Our special tonight is…”
I stopped listening. I didn’t care about the special. Disappointment teamed with outrageous hunger made me want to cry. I snatched a menu up and started looking. “I’ll take the taquitos, please.”
“Chicken or beef?”
A little piece of me died.
★ ★ ★
Normally, supply and demand makes sense to me, but that salad was killer. It had some kind of spicy caesar dressing, grilled chicken that was beyond comparison and it all came in a crunchy bread bowl! Tortilla Coast was one of my favorite restaurants in D.C. because of that salad. I also love the floor-to-ceiling windows from which patrons watch the busyness of the hill, but that’s a different story.
When it comes to production, I’m all about not making crap that people won’t buy. It’s a waste of time and effort. Admittedly, I don’t feel that way about creative endeavors, particularly writing, especially words penned by Christians pertaining to our faith. I mentioned pop-christianity to a friend the other day and he cringed. I understood why, but had to laugh because the only music he listens to is top 40 kind of stuff.
Pop culture gets a bad wrap because most (all?) of it is created for the sake of being consumed, for popularity. It’s packaging something in such a way that people will happily hand their money over for it. Clearly, it’s a genre to itself. Any picture could be painted with an impressionistic style, but maybe cubism or expressionism would better suit the idea behind the art. Ideas can manifest in all kinds of forms. We can discriminate on terms of personal taste, but we ought to appreciate quality when we see it.
The assumption against pop culture is that collective taste is poor.
And maybe it sometimes is.
Ke$ha and Lady Gaga have both sold outrageous numbers of albums…
Pop Christianity becomes a little more difficult because most Christian authors or musicians would claim that their words are inspired in one fashion or another- they wrote ______ because Jesus told them to. That puts motive on trial- we have to ask, how many Christian authors, preachers and musicians are penning words that they know people want to hear, rather than what ought to be heard? Did they write because they want to be rich and famous, or because they genuinely did what their faith led them to?
Wrong motives cause the ruin of the Good News and grace, but we can’t throw every brightly colored, trendy-covered, hipster pastor book or album out, because regardless of popularity, there might be something good in there, even if it is the Gospel according to Katy Perry* or someone just as wild.
*Okay, that was too much. There has to be some level of credibility involved.