Church-pop culture

Church-pop culture relationship examined

Ken Heffner, director of student activities at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., will reflect on the relationship between the church and popular culture in a Bluffton University forum Jan. 7.

Speaking at 11 a.m. in Founders Hall, he will address “Why should we care about Arcade Fire? A Christian approach to popular culture.” His presentation is free and open to the public.

The church has been at “war” with popular culture for more than 100 years, says Heffner, describing his talk as “a call for a cease-fire and a chance to begin shaping a way to engage and discern the popular arts.”

Rather than being “all bad or all good, popular culture may be more like a field with wheat and tares,” he adds, noting that he will discuss contemporary music, “the diverse musicians who make it and what this can show us about the goodness of God’s kingdom. And we’ll listen to some music…loud.”

At Calvin, where he has worked for 20 years, Heffner curates an annual concert season of 25 performances by artists such as Mavis Staples, The Decemberists, FUN. and Death Cab for Cutie. He also directs Calvin’s biennial Festival of Faith and Music.

The Grove City (Pa.) College graduate previously worked in campus ministry at Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia, in journalism at an NPR affiliate in Pittsburgh and as director of college activities at Wheeling (W.Va.) Jesuit University.