I apologize to C. S. Lewis for inverting a Narnia quote, but I think this quite roundly captures what the Christian media complex is today – not good, but safe. One such example was already quoted by Andrew on our humble site. Michael Gungor has pointed out that “creative” is a word often used to describe certain Christian recording artists whereas creativity is often a given in most other musical subcultures. (In fact, it’s the inverse that will be brought to criticize certain acts – “derivative” – as if, even in the often highly controlled world of corporate pop and rock there is still a presumption that an artist should at least attempt to display some kind of creativity.)
The other, arguably more serious case, is one involving a big-name pastor plagiarizing a book. The pastor in question is the Reformed enfant terrible, Mark Driscoll, and while the (alleged) incidence of plagiarism is a wrong in and of itself, Carl Trueman has rightly pointed out that this is compounded by the Christian media complex essentially giving Driscoll a pass and going after radio host Janet Mefferd for having the temerity to ask a tough question of a popular Christian leader. Trueman’s article (which should be read in its entirety) makes it clear that this is not an isolated incident either:
“Some years ago (another time, another webpage), someone I know made thinly veiled criticisms of a powerful evangelical organization. The response was swift: First, he received a series of personal pleas from people at the organization, telling him to stop; then he later discovered that his boss had come under direct pressure from head office at the other organization to remove him. The truth of what he had said was not (as far as I am aware) challenged at any point. It was simply that his comments were very inconvenient from a public relations perspective. Thankfully, the boss sided with his writer, not with the external critics.”
Is the Christian media complex good? Increasingly the answer seems to be “no.” But, as long as you have celebrity status, it is safe.