Sep 22, 2022

Theology professor publishes book on engaging theology and culture

Associate Professor of Theology Dr. Justin Bailey’s latest book, Interpreting Your World: Five Lenses for Engaging Theology and Culture, was released by Baker Academic on September 20. Exploring five dimensions of culture including meaning, power, morality, religion, and aesthetic, Interpreting Your World helps readers recognize the way culture shapes our perspectives with a goal of equipping “to engage culture with greater fluency and fidelity in response to the triune God.”

Bailey was inspired to write Interpreting Your World in part because he was looking for a resource to use with his Dordt University students.

“There are a lot of books that deal with Christian engagement with culture, but they either are too specific or are overly general, concerned with not being conformed to ‘the culture’ in the abstract,” explains Bailey. “I wanted a book that split the difference—a book that didn’t date itself through frequent references to pop cultural artifacts that might be passé as soon as the book came out, but also a book that modeled concrete cultural interpretation through different lenses.”

Bailey says this book is an attempt to offer a gentle, convicted, and non-anxious approach to cultural engagement with the resources of theology.

“My hope is that it helps my students, and anyone who reads it, to do the thing that we all must do: interpret our world,” he says.

In addition to his work at Dordt, Bailey is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church. He hosts the In All Things podcast and has been published in Christianity Today. He is also the author of Reimagining Apologetics: The Beauty of Faith in a Secular Age.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Leah Zuidema says Bailey’s book is consistent with his work as a professor and Dordt’s approach to education.

“First, it is Christ-centered and takes a theological approach; typically, books about culture look from a human-centered viewpoint,” she says. “Second, this book seeks to expand our understanding of God’s good will for our lives. This is at the heart of a Dordt education, and Dr. Bailey does this in his book by using a kaleidoscope of five different metaphors to help us imagine faithful ways to engage theology and culture. Third, this book reminds us that in caring for culture, we are caring for one another and seeking Christ-centered renewal for all areas of contemporary life. This is directly in line with the mission of Dordt University.”

Zuidema is thankful for Bailey’s latest book and is eager to see how it helps to challenge and change some of the ideas that are often taken for granted about cultural engagement.

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by the Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.


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