At Hollywood Jesus, we try and engage culture (as opposed to the all too often Christian stance of throwing stones at, and withdrawing from, it). You see, many Christians take the position to retreat from “the world” that way their spirituality won’t be corrupted by disparate elements. This is a by-product, I believe, of a highly individualized Gospel message that basically concerns itself with that individual getting their soul “saved”. A kind of “fire” insurance faith. But, that’s a different debate.

The goal of HJ is to apply our faith in such a way that it is culturally relevant. A friend of mine said that this is a perpetual challenge in any culture. The gospel must be culturally relevant or it will not gain a hearing. Since all cultures possess negative elements, the gospel must also challenge the culture. There is a fine-line between a culturally-captive and a culturally-relevant gospel.

On a practical level, this means that we accept the general conceit to try and find God in all things. You see, I don’t like to live my life in some sort of schizophrenic, dualistic hell: this stuff over here is holy vs. this stuff over there is “worldly”. I prefer to live with an “all things can be redeemed” mentality. When it comes to art, my belief starts with the fact that all people are created in God’s image. All people have what’s been called a “God sized hole” within them that causes them to wrestle with certain ideas and questions. And as they seek to answer these questions or respond to these ideas, it comes out in their art. I try to pick up on that thread.

I have a love of story and I believe that our faiths are informed by the idea of story. And vice versa. In fact, viewing art this way has had other practical side effects: I’ve learned to look at people this way too. Our lives are stories and all a part of a greater story. That means each person I encounter is a story, that has “something redeemable” about them, that can be (and is already) connected back to Christ. It has helped train me to meet people where they are, without trying to make them into “what they should be” before embracing them.

Wow. This is a really long way to say that along with the re-vamp of the Hollywood Jesus web site, I’ve been made the new comic books reviews editor. (Don’t think it went unnoticed that I got the nod too late to go to the San Diego con. Our editor in chief, every bit the comic nerd, is heading there himself. Of course.) No more “blogging adultery,” having to tend that blog and this one. I am down to this one – so some reviews may pop up from time to time over here. Since I can only barely afford to keep collecting, this will help out. Which reminds me, creators and publishers, if you have a comic you want me to review, drop me a line. Hollywood Jesus does get close to a million hits a day. Finally, using my nerd powers for Jesus!