Friends, if you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, then I heartily recommend Daniel Strange’s book, Plugged In. If you’re a parent of young children, you might not think that a book about culture is really relevant to you – especially one that’s written by a clever Dr person who’s the director of a Bible college. And whilst I don’t want to have an argument with you, I think you’re wrong.
Firstly, let me just reassure that this book is really clear and is definitely pitched at ordinary folk like you and me – even those of us who are distracted and sleep-deprived. Dan Strange also realises that we might need persuading that culture is an important thing to think about. As human beings, we create and consume culture. We can’t avoid it, even if we try. And guess what? It’s likely that your children are also human beings. Which means that they, too, are cultural creatures. They have a culture, and so does the world around them.
Do we want our children to live for Jesus in this world that’s full of culture? Do we want to worship Jesus in our families and to engage with our culture in a Jesus-honouring way? Then this book can help us. Some of us just need to learn that we can’t escape culture and we don’t need to be afraid of it. Some of us are thinking through how to guide our children as they come across culture. Some of us want to know how to speak into our culture and point people to Jesus. Plugged In addresses these things.
As parents, we do actually need to be plugged in. Our children are being told stories every day – and so are we! They’re not all bad, but which bits are true and how can we tell? I want to help our children to see the world through a gospel lens. As Dan writes:
“We need to learn to identify where [cultural stories] are suppressing the truth, and to spot where that truth keeps ‘popping up’ like a beach ball. This is what it means to “engage with culture” – not to swallow its stories hook, line and sinker, but to let it point our own eyes over and over again to the gospel story.” p. 74.
And at the end, there’s a bit about Japanese toilets.
You can buy the book here if you wish.