By Greg Garrett
The media-world is the shelter where the vast majority of those of us who live in the West dwell and from which we draw the material out of which we make sense of our lives. ~ Kelton Cobb, The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture
When we look at the way people understand the world, we have to pay attention to more than news reports, speeches, policy reports, and scholarly treatises. Most people, honestly, don't make their meaning in those ways. Many people believe in things that are demonstrably not facts (i.e., Saddam Hussein's involvement in 9/11, President Obama's Muslim faith) and a huge number of people seem to learn what they "know" about the world from media sources such as Glenn Beck or Jon Stewart (or, like the U.S. Congress, be influenced by them).
All this demonstrates that, as Kelton Cobb argues, more of us make sense of the world through the media than through reasoned study and debate, which makes calling attention to exemplary (good or bad) media an important task. 2010 gave us movies, television shows, and other media that could help us in a positive way to make sense of the complex and challenging world we occupy. Here are some of the pop culture artifacts from 2010 carrying powerful lessons about religion and politics.