In 2005, journalist Daniel Radosh visited his wife's family in Wichita, Kansas, and tagged along to a Christian rock festival. It was a bizarre experience for a journalist who thought he knew every cranny of pop culture: He was surrounded by fans screaming for bands he'd never heard of. "The key moment for me," Radosh remembers, "was when one of my sister-in-law's friends ran back after a set and said 'That was awesome! They prayed like three times in a 20-minute set!' I had to know what it meant to judge a band by how hard it prayed rather than how hard it rocked."
Three years later Radosh has produced Rapture Ready! (Scribner), a humorous travelogue-cum-study of what he calls the "parallel universe of Christian pop culture." He doesn't attend a single church service. He goes instead to the Christian professional wrestling rings, stadium-sized passion plays, and rollicking rock festivals that make up the $7 billion Christian pop culture industry. And comes away from it all with a much stronger appreciation both for Christians and the ways in which culture operates to help form communities and social identities.
This eight-minutue interview was conducted by reason.tv's Nick Gillespie and Dan Hayes.
Read an interview with Radosh in the July issue of reason magazine.