This week I saw a church using billboards promoting The Naked Truth on sex to attract seekers. Perhaps we've misunderstood Paul's statement about becoming the slave and Jew (1 Corinthians 9). Our illustrations often do little to further the Kingdom of God. The line between applicability and appropriateness seems to be thinning.
These are but a few examples of multimedia use in churches. I wonder if the cost of such metaphors is more than a CVLI license and advertising space. Long-term, these 'amoral' media could wreak havoc on American Christianity. Shane Hipps opens this Pandora's Box in chapter two of Flickering Pixels.
"The Magical Eye" relies heavily on the writing of social critic Marshall McLuhan. Like the prophetic Postman, McLuhan was a man of foresight. He suspected electronic media would reshape our culture. While his popularity dropped by the Eighties, his works brought forth the conspicuous phrases:
- The medium is the message
- The global village
- The future of the future is in the present (Source: McLuhan: Foward through the review mirror)
I might (not so) boldly attribute the rise of violence, ADHD and autism to the ubiquity of audio-visual media. The printing press trained our Left Brains to dominate, while the revolution of what McLuhan calls the 'electronic age' has resulted in a 'shifting [of] cognitive modes from the left to the right hemisphere' (McLuhan, The Global Village, 80). In other words, the Western culture is watching the brain unravel as it sits bemused before the television screen.
The chapter opens up the topic of 'Christian' media--perhaps influenced by Rob Bell, one of the signature names on the back cover of Hipps's book. Bell writes, "Christian is a great noun but a poor adjective" (84). And it is all too true that marketing has tried to sanctify bad brushstrokes and guitar rifts because the message exploits the medium.
Unfortunately, the chapter is profoundly inconclusive. Using the 90's craze of the Magic Eye posters, Hipps states the obvious: "We need to train our eyes to focus beyond the surface of our technologies" (pg. 30). Fortunately, the rest of the chapters give some insight into how the reader might accomplish the task.
Questions to consider:
- What lies beyond the surface of the blog (as well as other digital technology)?
- Why have digital books not outsold printed books, but digital news is destroying printed news?
- What makes music Christian?
- What are the gains of the electronic age and revitalization of the right brain?
Integrity Check (these words included):
Hipps's Words: 33
Total Words: 527