Lauren Bird-Staff Writer
Last year, a new major and minor were made available to students at Dordt. This area of study, called Christianity and Pop Culture, focuses on exploring Christianity and finding religious value in our culture today.
Theology professor Jason Lief along with professors in the philosophy department established this major.
“It’s built on this idea that we engage in culture,” Lief said. “But it goes beyond an interest in pop culture; it has to do with picking apart what’s going on in the way we live.”
While studying in this field, students look at popular culture in a Christian context, finding the value in everything.
Hannah Rodgers, junior theology major, added the Christianity and Pop Culture minor. She plans to go into youth ministry and feels that this minor will help her in her future career.
“I felt that (this major) would be very helpful in my ministry,” Rodgers said. “I know one of the challenges in this field is getting the kids to mature in their faith and it’s hard to help them in a culture that is almost the opposite of what I’d be talking with them about.”
Rodgers believes that this major can teach students to be in the world, but not of it, as God calls us to be. Students have the chance to study things that people in today’s culture care about.
Whitney Dooyema, theology and Christianity and Pop Culture double major, enjoys studying modern ideas.
“I decided to major in Christianity and Pop Culture in addition to biblical studies because I’m more interested in modern issues that are popular today,” Dooyema said. “Although church history is quite exciting, I’d rather dig into today’s hard questions in areas ranging from philosophy to politics. Instead of arguing issues like predestination and common grace, I’d rather discuss things that postmodern people care about.”
Lauren Davis, another Christianity and Pop Culture minor, thinks it’s very important to know how to use these postmodern ideas in our culture. She hopes to use these ideas to relate to kids in youth ministries.
“I love starting off conversations that are light, in hopes to dive into a deep topic about (students’) lives,” Davis said. “I would like to be a voice that encourages and motivates them to persevere through struggles. I want to help give them hope whether it be through music, public speaking, writing, or a cup of coffee.”
Davis, Rodgers, and Dooyema are currently the only students with declared majors and minors in this field. However, Christianity and Pop Culture is an interdisciplinary study, so many other students are already taking classes required for this major.
Lief believes that because so many classes double dip into other majors, students should consider a Christianity and Pop Culture double major or minor.
“It’s a very flexible major and minor,” Lief said. “A double major is easy since there are no new classes; they’re all existing classes. It’s very much an interdisciplinary major.”
Since this major was only established last year, not many students know about it yet or have gotten involved. But Lief encourages students to check it out.
“I want to make a plea to students who don’t know what they want to do to check out this major,” Lief said. “We need to make connections and find students who are interested in this. Give it a look. It goes well with other majors.”
The students currently in this study also encourage other students to check it out.
“The classes are interesting,” Rodgers said. “They keep you engaged and even if you could only take one class as an elective, I know you wouldn’t regret it.”
She recommends taking Engaging Culture with Lief.
Dooyema also encourages people to take at least a course or two in this major.
“It makes you think about issues in ways you never thought of,” Dooyema said. “As a Christian, it is crucial to be connected to culture and know what it going on in the world.”