[su_note note_color=”#d5d5d5″ text_color=”#91201f”]The following is the Letter from the Editor for Volume 3, Issue 8 of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine: “A Matter of Conscience,” available for free for a limited time. You can subscribe to Christ and Pop Culture Magazine by becoming a member and you’ll receive a host of other benefits as well.[/su_note]

Not a day goes by that my conscience doesn’t feel twinged. Is it the Spirit’s conviction? Is it a violation against my personal moral compass? Is it unfounded guilt? Jiminy Cricket sang that we should always let our conscience be our guide, but I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

It isn’t easy for me to decipher why my conscience is being pricked. So I pray as I go, asking God to make the best choices I can in the time and wisdom available in the moment. Sometimes I choose to speak out; sometimes I keep quiet. Sometimes I choose to watch a movie; sometimes I refuse. Sometimes I buy what I don’t need; sometimes I don’t. Life is full of these choices that require me to consult my conscience—what I believe, what I value, what I want my life to stand for.

In this issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, the articles speak to this ongoing need to consult our conscience for how we live. Heather Caliri addresses the dilemma of Christians and yoga in her article, “Yoga, Hospitality, and Cultural Appropriation.” Although participating in yoga has become one of those hot-button issues among Christians, Caliri draws our attention to another dilemma: Are we showing respect to the people and practices of another culture when we claim we can strip an age-old practice of its religious core?

Joel Heng Hartse turns our attention to books and music in his article, “Within a Dark Woods Where the Straight Way Is Lost: Jamie Quatro and Torres.” How do we decide which works to take in, which to set aside? Hartse analyzes two brilliant but gritty works of art that highlight the tension, stressing:

“Art like this forces us, in a way, to inhabit ambiguous and conflicted moral terrain.”

Moral decisions aren’t only confined to cultural engagement, however. In our consumerist society, what we feed our bodies is just as important as what we feed our souls, because food isn’t merely food. How our food is produced and marketed is also a matter of conscience, as Cray Allred argues in his article, “Down with Hardee’s”:

“Christian boycotters of yesterday might have objected to filthy advertising on grounds of righteousness, drawing a line in the sand between good and evil. I stage my protest out of weakness. I am a pig. My heart is bent away from contentment in the good gifts that God has given me, and bent toward the things that are not mine.”

And this is my own dilemma with making choices based on my conscience: Although I long to honor God with my everyday choices, my conscience is not perfect. Sometimes the twinge I feel is the Spirit nudging me to what is right, and I even obey—but sometimes I grieve Him and choose otherwise. Sometimes the twinge is my conscience being alerted to some man-made moral code that is more custom than Christian virtue. Sometimes the twinge is my old nature that labels some choices as right when they are really wrong, and vice versa.

It is from this mixed bag of conscience that I seek to make the best choices I can, given what I know in the moment. One day, the choices I’ve made will be assessed by God, according to His perfect standard. I will then hide myself in Christ, because I’m sure my choices, like my conscience, were less than perfect.

—Erin Straza

Image: Seongbin Im