Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

164—When “engaging the culture” means loving mediocrity—Joshua Gibbs

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 17, 2023 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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Today it’s taken for granted that we as Christians are called to “engage the culture” in order to evangelize. Often “engaging the culture” means paying an inordinate amount of attention to popular commercial entertainment in order to show unbelievers how hip we are, straining to find a “Christ-figure” in every comic book movie, and making worship music as repetitive, melodically banal, and emotionalistic as possible. Past a certain point, “cultural engagement” begins to seem like a noble-sounding excuse to enjoy mediocrity—and Christians, unfortunately, are as much in love with mediocre entertainment as anyone else.

The novel doctrine of “cultural engagement” is just one subject covered in Joshua Gibbs’s challenging and entertaining new book, Love What Lasts: How to Save Your Soul from Mediocrity. Joshua joins Thomas Mirus for a wide-ranging conversation about how we choose to spend our free time and why it matters.

Topics include:

  • The dangers of artistic mediocrity
  • The importance of boredom
  • Why streaming has been terrible for music
  • The different kinds of Christian “cultural engagers”
  • Uncommon and common good things and how both are threatened by the mediocre
  • How the “special” apes the holy
  • The meme-ification of art


Gibbs, Love What Lasts: How to Save Your Soul from Mediocrity

Thomas’s favorite episode of Gibbs’s podcast, Proverbial

Gibbs, “Film As a Metaphysical Coup”

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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