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Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times [Hardcover]

By David Lyon (Author)
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Item description for Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times by David Lyon...

In this accessible study, David Lyon explores the relationship between religion and postmodernity, through the central metaphor of Jesus in Disneyland. Contemporary disciples of Jesus have used Disneyland for religious events, whilst Disney characters are now probably better known throughout the world than many biblical figures. But this book cautions against seeing it as a simple substitution. Rather, the author shows how this metaphor reveals highly innovative and potentially enduring features of contemporary spiritual quests. In the West, many religious institutions have declined in social significance, but what Lyon calls the religious realm, including faith and spirituality, is flourishing in multifarious forms. Throughout the text he examines a wide variety of religious and para-religious behaviour, exploring its relation to issues of identity, cyberculture, consumer culture and social theories of time.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times by David Lyon has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christian Century - 09/12/2001 page 48

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Polity
Pages   200
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.29" Width: 6.24" Height: 0.84"
Weight:   0.91 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 13, 2000
Publisher   Polity
ISBN  0745614884  
ISBN13  9780745614885  

Availability  0 units.

More About David Lyon

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! D.Lyon, Professor of Sociology, Queens University, Kingston

David Lyon has an academic affiliation as follows - Queens University Canada Queen's University K Ingston Queen's Universi.

David Lyon has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Complete Guide
  2. DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Religion

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Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus in Disneyland: Religion in Postmodern Times?

Changed how I understand the postmodern  Feb 11, 2005
I've been interested in the postmodern for a while now (metanarratives, floating signifiers and all that). But this book has changed the way I look at it. For one thing, David Lyon is less interested in rarified philosophical discussions than he is in investigating the social structures in which we live. He's less interested in the ivory tower discussions on postmodernism than in our shared cultural and social context -- where we actually live.

David Lyon is a Christian sociologist who has studied religion for decades, and so he approaches the subject matter as a sympathetic professional. He has also done a lot of work on the idea of postmodernity and information technologies (especially how new technologies enable surveillance). He has a knack for drawing on a wide range of scholarship, and making subtle and complex ideas accessible for the intelligent non-expert. His book on secularization from 1985, The Steeple's Shadow, has helped me more than any other single book in understanding the social dynamics of this secular age (and he covers some of the same ground in Jesus in Disneyland). He made the effect of modernity on religion clearer. In Jesus in Disneyland, he provides the same, useful service here, but in regard to postmodernity rather than moderntiy.

He begins his analysis by telling about a Christian event held at Disneyland at Anaheim, California, USA. Some saw an unholy mingling of the holy with the secular, of the Savior with the Mouse. The participants saw it as a way of using a popular venue to reach others for Christ. Who was right? Does using Disneyland trivialize the faith, or make it more accessible to seekers? The answer, which he spends the rest of the book unraveling, is, of course, "Yes"- that is, both are true. Disney becomes a metaphor for the way postmodernity, with its accent on image, consumption, entertainment, globalization, etc. changes the way we understand what is deepest about reality.

One of the reasons I trust Lyon to guide me through this complex terrain is his balance. He doesn't play a cheerleader for postmodernity, announcing its arrival with a sort of breathless, quivering excitement (Douglas Ruskoff is the quintessential example, but it's also a pitfall that Brian McLaren falls into quite a few times). Neither does Lyon play the prophet of doom and gloom, announcing the end of all that is good and true and bright (a role I've seen Christian analysts play far too often). Rather, he soberly assesses both the corrosive effects of the new social situation and the potential opportunities.

So what is postmodernity? For Lyon, it is a complex social situation where some of the dynamics inherited from modernity are emphasized, some are de-emphasized, and some are distorted beyond recognition. He cites two dynamics as key for understanding postmodernity: the advent of computer information technologies, and consumerism. Computers have made the world smaller, faster. And they have made identities more fragmented. Global consumerism has marked a shift in understanding ourselves. We used to understand ourselves as producers. Now we understand ourselves as consumers, recipients of entertainment (I thought his chapter on consumerism, "Shopping for a Self," was itself worth the price of the book). He also looks at how these two dynamics (computer information technologies and consumerism) compress time and space. Now we demand (and get) information and images in an instant. And we get this information from anywhere. We simulate history and the future and other places on the globe, and take it for knowledge. And all of this has a decisive impact on how postmodern people view religion.

He spends the last, summary chapter, trying to point a way forward for the Christian Church. He suggests that the Church can spawn "communities of resistance" that go against the flow of consumerism. He argues that churches must be involved in the new media, fully knowing that such involvement runs the risk of being relativized as just another choice on the web. But it is a risk that churches must take, or be sidelined as a social movement. The church can also be a haven, an alternative to the speed of the postmodern world, a place to slow down.

One suggestion that I felt was missing was that Christians can be an important source of face-to-face relationships, providing a sense of wholeness for increasingly fragmented postmodern people. One sociologist has said that the world is becoming more hi-tech and low-touch. What people really needed, he said, was a place to come where the order of the day was low-tech, hi-touch - i.e. where a person could come and be appreciated as a human being, and find warm, secure relationships. But that in itself is a small omission. The only other omission that I see is that, having been based in Canada and England, he pays Continental Europe very little attention. But I believe that many of the social dynamics he examines in Canada, Britain and the U.S. also have continental analogies.

Overall, the book is fascinating, well researched, and gives a lot of food for thought. If you are going to know the social situation, you'd be well advised to read this book carefully.
For the 100th time, we heard you  Dec 15, 2003
I understand that alot of people like this book but I don't think that I should have to be subjected to the torture of reading through this whole text. I had the opportunity of reading just one chapter of this book and it would not have mattered if I had read the whole book. Lyon is repititive and boring and honesltly, I couldn't the book aloud without the temptation to fall asleep. I can't give a book to read instead but I can tell you a book to stay away from. That book is Jesus in Disneyland. This book could have been summarized in 5 paragraphs, not over 100 pages. He says something on one page and then says the exact same thing on the other page except he uses new sociological ways of saying. I think I can speak for all of my classmates when I say, I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME!

A budding undergraduate,
Derek Martin


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