About me

Hi. My name is Ted Turnau, and you've stumbled across my website. Congrats. I'm a college lecturer who teaches Cultural Studies and Religion in Prague, Czech Republic. I've been interested for a long time about issues of popular culture, imagination, and how they relate to the Christian faith. I think the answer has something to do with apologetics (hence the title of my book).

I'm married to Carolyn and have been for over thirty years. It's been delightful. And we have three awesome kids, one of whom is graduated from college. My kids more than anyone else have kept me in touch with popular culture. We have two cats named Loki and Saffron (both Joss Whedon characters).

We love having students over to our house to watch movies, talk about stuff, eat stuff, drink stuff. Carolyn and I also teach at a Christian school in Prague, so you'll sometimes find middle and high schoolers at our house as well. You can find out about the school here: http://www.cisprague.org/.

One quick note about the blog: I am a horrible bloglord. Being both busy and ADHD, I sometimes let this site languish for months. Don't be discouraged. Just keep checking back. Or you can follow my Twitter-feed here: https://twitter.com/#!/TedTurnau

Please don't expect this to be the site that will keep you up-to-date on the latest fashion or trend or show or song in popular culture. It isn't that. We don't have cable, and I live about 5000 miles outside the loop when it comes to the latest whatever. Instead, consider this a place to reflect and think through perspectives about how to read such things. I'd rather equip people to think over popular cultural stuff on their own than to do their thinking for them.

I'd love to hear your comments.


Ted Turnau


Interesting and engaging secular people

Hi Ted I have been reading your popologetics book which has been so helpful in explaining a number of things I have been thinking about and noticing in films particularly. I really appreciated your stories/analogies in the book such as the 'flug' for understanding how culture and ideas mix. I work in an Australian christian high school with 90% students which are secular and they have one 50min compulsory unassessed class they have to do each week on christianity etc. I am considering using a lot of films for that. I would really like to ask you via email some questions I have. These questions would be mainly around the types of questions you would be asking a teenage secular audience to reflect after watching a film ( your questions in the book are great but I sense that that is more for the christian to reflect on). I'll explain more via email. I look forward to your response Jono jmiles9179 [at] gmail [dot] com

Really informative post.Thanks Again. Really Great. Hayword

Really informative post.Thanks Again. Really Great. Valseca


Glad you liked it, Valseca.

Ride the High Country

Dear Ted, David Hein's essay on the 1962 film "Ride the High Country" reminded me of you, because it was a fairly eloquent and persuasive argument for the particular virtues of film as an art-form. If you haven't read his essay before, you can find it here at the John Jay Center for Justice. Here's a sample: "Because the best movies have a multisensory power to bring so much together on the big screen—character development within a carefully paced narrative arc punctuated by sound and silence (spare, intelligent dialogue in Ride the High Country; a plaintive main theme by composer George Bassman), illustrated by exactly rendered light and images—films have the capacity to engage our imaginations as no other medium can. And we know that truth is accessed through the imaginative—not merely the rational—faculty. As C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien demonstrated, we appropriate truth through concrete images, not just through empirical discoveries and logical deductions." Peace, T. David Gordon


Hello Prof. Gordon,

Thanks for the essay lead. I've found it and will give it a read soon. Sorry we didn't get a chance to drop by Grove City during our sojourn in the States. It got unexpectedly busy. But perhaps next time. If you ever get over to Prague, please drop me a line.



Greetings and question

Dear Ted, in 2005, 2006 I attended your "Popular Culture and Media Theory"-Class in Prague - and very much loved it. Right now I'm organizing a "Media Theory and Cultural Anthropology"-Class myself at Göttingen University (in Germany). I remember you giving us a short Text about a girl (?) going to the movies with her family in order to fell better, but still feeling sort of alienated afterwards. I looked through all my notes, but cannot find the text anymore. Do you remember this one? I would very much like to include it into a session, too. Also, I would like to thank you for the very inspiring lectures - as you can see, I'm still thinking about them quite some years later. :) All my best Tikki Christine Hämmerling

Partial answer to your question...

Hi Tikki! I remember you - dreadlocks, if memory serves. I am sorry that I didn't see this earlier. As you can see, I'm not a very disciplined blogger. Working on a second book, etc. distracts from blogging (or is it the other way around). I thought very hard about your question, and I think I know what you are talking about. It isn't about a girl going to the movies, but rather returning from Christmas break to her mother and her mother's new husband. It's a short-short story by Joyce Carol Oates called "Happy," and it was published in a collection from the 1980s called "Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories." Sorry I didn't check and get this information to you earlier. Hope you are doing well. Thanks so much for your kind words - they mean a lot. Peace, Ted

Dear Ted, yes yes yes,

Dear Ted, yes yes yes, "Happy" it was! I'll look it up tomorrow! Thanks a lot for your reply. (And yes, I had the dreads.) I am doing just fine, just got back from spending Christmas with my sister and parents (a good one). I wish you and your family all the best for the next year! Best wishes! Tikki

Thanks again

Dr. Turnau, I searched for your email but could not find it, so I figured I would write a comment here. I just wanted to thank you again for speaking in our class and for engaging in discussion afterwards; it was stimulating and extremely beneficial to talk with you about your view of culture and the importance of the medium. As I briefly mentioned, my own area of "expertise" concerns social media, including the use of 4chan, tumblr, imgur, reddit, and memes, and so if you ever have questions about those topics, don't hesitate to contact me! I could speak for far too long on the creation and use of memes in pop culture. And of course, if you want to talk further about tri-perspectivalism and cultural analysis, I'm still trying to develop my ideas about it :) I hope the rest of your visit to the U.S. is profitable and enjoyable. In Christ, Chris Julien JulienCM22 [at] gmail [dot] com

And thank you!

Hey Chris,

I had a great time as well. Very intense and interesting. Makes me a bit more optimistic about the future of Westminster (though we'll see - jury's still out). Speaking of social media, if you want to contact me, you can find me easily enough on Twitter @TedTurnau. I still shun Facebook, though I probably shouldn't. It just seems to me that it's a huge time commitment. Anyway, if you're ever in Central Europe, look us up!




Ted, this is Phyllis Calhoun. Your mom dropped a copy of your book by the house a few weeks ago. I picked it up yesterday and can't put it down. For the last three years I have been studying biblical counseling from the likes of Westminster professors. It has been so rich. Your book speaks so clearly to me about Jesus' command to love neighbors as ourselves. Implied is the need to understand culture and world view, where desires are both tethered and lived out. I am going to recommend your book to Ed Welch for "Human Personality."

Solving the riddle raised by Beale

Having just read your section in Twitter in Popologetics, I now understand more clearly what Beale was getting at when he attempted to describe how idolatry of the self fits into the biblical theme of us becoming what we worship: "it would appear strange to say that we become like ourselves when we worship ourselves. But on further thought this may not be so odd after all ... The monarch (the King of Tyre) was making himself 'larger' in a manner that was sinful for a human to do. He was trying to enlarge his ego. He was inflating himself ... So that the bigger-than-life image that he was projecting was but a frail balloon full of hot air that would eventually pop at some point under God's judgemental hand ... Instead of participating in expanding the sphere of God's glory, he was artificially causing his own honour to swell." (Beale, We Become What We Worship, p. 297.) seems like Twitter could be used to that very same end - as could this comment!

Hey Phyl!

Hey Phyl,

Thanks so much for your kind words. Mom is quite the Popologetics evangelist. And your feedback is so encouraging. It would be an honor to be of use to the CCEF guys - I hadn't actually considered the connect. But I've drunk at the same well you have, so I guess that shows. When you do recommend it to him, say Hi to him for me. And to your family.



hi...Ted. this is Sangyil Park

I hope you remember me. We met at the Korean Methodist church in Philly many years ago. I am in Berkeley, CA teaching at a Baptist Seminary. . ..hope you and yours are all well. My email address [dot] [dot] [dot] sangyil [at] hotmail [dot] com. look forward to hearing from you.