Daniel Ketchelos — Staff Writer
Culture and theology are two inescapable aspects of life. Justin Ariel Bailey, Associate Professor of Theology at Dordt University, outlines how to engage with both in his latest book, Interpreting Your World.
“I’ve always been interested in culture, and part of that is because I’m bicultural — I’m Filipino American,” Bailey said. “So, I was always interested in the way that the lenses that we look through the world change our experience of the world, and I felt I had that lived experience myself.”
Interpreting Your World is Bailey’s second book, preceded by his first release, Reimagining Apologetics. Meaning, Power, Ethical, Religious, and Aesthetic are the five lenses Bailey explains should be used to interpret contemporary issues in Interpreting Your World.
“The question is not whether you will engage theology and culture, but how robust will your engagement be with theology and culture?” Bailey said. “If you don’t think about these things, it doesn’t exempt you from still having to interpret the world.”
Bailey has already had success with Interpreting Your World. Christianity Today featured Bailey in their print edition, and in late August Bailey lead a faculty workshop at Redeemer University in Canada where he shared some ideas from this book.
“The people who really liked the book were not necessarily the people I hoped would read it,” Bailey said. “There’s an architecture school in California reading this book, and I never imagined that. You can’t really control what happens with it.”
Dordt is also engrained within the pages of his latest book. Bailey has previously shared unreleased drafts with his students, and this year is using Interpreting Your World for his Christianity and Pop Culture courses.
“Dordt definitely has its print on it because you always write for where you are and who you’re around,” Bailey said. “This book was written for my students in some sense, and it is quite a vulnerable thing to give your work to students, but they were very kind and helpful and in a lot of cases gave me some really important direction.”
Interpreting Your World will be available wherever books are sold and will be released on Sept. 20, 2022.
“I see a lot of Christian engagement with culture that is fearful, cynical, and characterized by despair, which is the opposite of faith, love, and hope,” Bailey said. “I want readers to feel like they’re being taken on a journey, where they walk alongside the cultural conversation but also that they begin to hear the voice that tells us what we couldn’t have told ourselves, which is the voice of God.”