I'm lucky enough to have a job that requires me to think, read, write, teach and speak about the intersections of religion, entertainment and popular culture in American society. However, long before I began work as a college professor, I attended a church that placed as much emphasis on entertainment as instilling faith. There was a shared sense that the latter goal (i.e. instilling faith) depended upon an ability to perform the former task (i.e. entertaining). I vividly recall the Sunday in 1985 my father took me to the church bookstore after service to purchase a copy of the first Christian rap CD, "Bible Break" by Stephen Wiley, an Oklahoma-based youth minister/rapper who became a recurring guest at my church's annual youth retreats. By all accounts, my youth leaders sought to "keep it real" even as their real goal was to keep us "saved."
To continue reading, go to: CNN Opinion