“Just turn on the television... Today, apocalypse sells like mad,” write Joustra (The Church’s Social Responsibility) and Wilkinson (chief film critic atChristianity Today). Instead of lamenting secularized versions of the end times, however, the authors engage with them through an in-depth theological critique of popular culture. They note that the idea of future chaos followed by restoration has been a religious theme for millennia, starting with the first apocalyptic text from ancient Egypt. After a fascinating, breakneck rundown of utopian versus dystopian notions from biblical times onward, Joustra and Wilkinson zero in on recent movies and—especially—TV shows that reflect our vulnerability and suspicion of metanarratives. Beware plot spoilers! Moving from the “postmodern fairy tale” of Game of Thrones and the antiheroes of Breaking Bad and Mad Men to Scandal’s “moral apocalypse,” they skillfully derive lessons about power and significance. It is refreshing to see a willingness to find the best in secular art, rather than a blanket dismissal of it. Some critical jargon and a heavy debt to philosopher Charles Taylor mean this will likely appeal to academics more than lay readers.
More thoughts to come after I finish devouring the final product, but a hearty round of congratulations to Alissa and Rob, who put a great deal of work into this thing!