Plugged In - Dan Strange


Speaking about Dan Strange’s new book, Tim Keller says, “There really is nothing else like this book.”

I assumed this was about its compelling content. But as I flicked through the book, some of the chapter headings I saw were these:

The Japanese Domestic Toilet. Zombies: They’re Us. Birdwatching. Adult Colouring Books.

Keller was right – I’ve not come across anything like it.

Cultural Stories

Plugged In is about culture and how Christians engage with it. By ‘culture’, Strange doesn’t mean theatre trips in ball gowns or scratching your beard in front of a Rembrandt.

He’s talking about stuff you actually do.

Our culture’s handiwork doesn’t come in the form of cathedrals; we’ve come up with Netflix, 24/7 gyms, Instagram, celebrity mags, the local pub, wedding fairs and the X-Factor.

Strange calls these cultural artefacts ‘texts’ which tell a story about the world – stories which promise a happy-ever-after.

Like all texts, these ones can be read. Even by average Joes like me. And this is Strange’s aim: to teach us to read culture. Why?

Because we love Jesus, and because we love others.

The True Story

In our society, telling others about Jesus can feel like confessing to being a self-righteous bigot, overjoyed that everyone’s going to hell. So we don’t do it.

But Plugged In gives us a way in.

Strange invites us to consider cultural texts, such as England’s 2018 World Cup run or zombie apocalypses. To enter these worlds. To explore. To see the areas of light and of shade. And to explain how the gospel both connects with and confronts the world we find there.

In short, Plugged In equips us to find a door into people’s worlds. Into our own worlds.

It’s a much-needed resource to connect our cultural stories with the one True Story - and to show others where they can find the real happy-ever-after they were always looking for.