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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 - 1:37 PM CST

iPod, YouTube, Wii Play: Theological Engagements with Entertainment

D. Brent Laytham (Cascade Books, 209 pp., paperback)

How does entertainment affect the modern Christian disciple? How has the iPod shaped the way we listen to music? How has YouTube affected our social relationships? How has sports and video games affected how we play? Why are we so celebrity driven? Laytham grapples with these questions in this thought-provoking book. He looks at the many different forms of entertainment and analyzes their affects on us socially, emotionally, and theologically.

Each chapter is an honest look at a different form of entertainment: iPods, YouTube, video games, sports as participators and spectators, movies, magazines, fashion, celebrities, and even gambling. Laytham is not out on an entertainment witch hunt but on a quest to help us see entertainment for what it really is. His main objective is not necessarily the content of entertainment but the medium with which it presents itself and how it shapes us theologically.

Laytham’s style is witty, yet highly intelligent — sometimes to his detriment. This book will force you to think about what the author is saying. He is not just coming up with random ideas nor is he attending to an agenda; he is challenging all to think critically and theologically about entertainment.

The greatest characteristic of the book is the questions Laytham asks throughout. Most books place questions at the end of each chapter, but Laytham interweaves them throughout each chapter, forcing one to stop and think about what he is addressing. These questions are well thought out, clear, and thought provoking, making this book a great tool for personal and group study.

iPod, YouTube, Wii Play, is a great asset to any pastor seeking to navigate and shepherd in an entertainment-driven society, and to do it intelligently and with grace.

Reviewed by Nik White, young adult pastor, Central Assembly of God, Springfield Missouri.

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