Featured Reviews, VOLUME 6

D. Brent Laytham – iPod, YouTube, WiiPlay [Feature Review]

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”1556355092″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416EjfhCR2L.jpg” width=”222″ alt=”D. Brent Laytham” ]How Then Shall we Live in a Thriving Entertainment Culture?

A Feature Review of

iPod, YouTube, WiiPlay: Theological Engagements with Entertainment

D. Brent Laytham

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”1556355092″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]

 

Reviewed by Scott Elliott

 

iPod, YouTube, Wii Play: Theological Engagements with Entertainment by D. Brent Laytham is an eye-opening look at our entertainment obsessed culture from a Christian perspective. As a lover of both entertainment and theology I was thoroughly impressed by Laytham’s handling of the subject. As he peeled back the layers of our culture he opened my eyes to things I had not considered. He understands that this is an important, as well as divisive, topic. Within society you will find people who joyously embrace certain aspects of entertainment without ever questioning it. You will also find people who openly reject various forms of entertainment without ever trying to understand it. Laytham does not belong to either group. He wants us to know this is a complex issue and that there is a place for both understanding entertainment and questioning the effect it has on us.

 

Laytham says, “Sin is a kind of un-creation of goodness, beauty, and truth; it is faith, hope, and love gone astray, but not entirely gone” (92-93). This definition of sin is helpful to keep in mind throughout the book. As Laytham goes from one form of entertainment to another he is careful to point out the negatives and positives. Even with entertainment at its worst there is often an element of goodness or beauty we have overlooked. Laytham helps the reader to discern between good and evil and to understand how entertainment can be a blessing or a curse.

 

Throughout the book Laytham encourages Christians to be “asking good questions” (1). To help with this he has composed his own questions that he places at points along the way. Most of these questions are thought provoking and helpful in understanding the effects of entertainment. I also found it beneficial that these questions are not saved for the end of the chapter, but placed at the end of paragraphs and sections. Laytham wants the reader to engage with the subject matter. It also makes it easy for someone to take this material and use it in a small-group setting or Bible class.

 

Although the title may grab some people’s attention it is a little misleading. The book uses iPods, Youtube, and Wii as a launching pad to discuss other forms of entertainment. Laytham looks at such topics as singing, entertainment in worship, sports, gambling, video games, magazines, TV, and movies. One thing that is obvious is that Laytham understands entertainment enough not to be dull. One of the best chapters in the book is Chapter 5: The Trouble with Twitter. The chapter is only 140 characters long. This may seem like a rip off, but Laytham is using his wit to make a valid and important point. Twitter effects how we think and communicate and it is something we should be aware of.

 

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