More Thoughts On Media

I keep thinking about the relationship between the message and the medium by which we wish to relay it. One change online has been the rise of video, Youtube and the like. I get that addition of video is attention attracting and amusing. I get that it can be an in-the-moment experience like mini-TV in a post, but what I’m not sure of is the exchange we make between our love of amusement and our need for analysis and meditation.

It seems that as our media has progressed in its command of promoting a technicolor display and a lock on our fascination, it loses its ability to engage dialogue. I am not sure what explains it, but I am pretty sure of the direct proportions involved. I see it in myself- as I sit engrossed in computer generated effects, wowed by the fast action and bullet speed commentary, my mind is fully occupied with just taking in the information, and little is left for critical thinking. Not that critical thinking is encouraged. We have become more of a society of pandering demagogues than considered thinkers. Media use either caters to that or is instrumental in the formation. My own philosophical bent is to believe that the intent comes before the outcome, although the creators of media messages can certainly ride the momentum that is initiated, whipping up fervor along the way. The written word tends to have followed the visual presentation of movies and television, probably in an attempt not to be left behind. There is no pause, no time to think. In blogging it could be the sheer mass of available writing that serves to drive the need to move on incessantly, discouraging the desire to sift through to finding the core of truth or the detour of deception.

Can Christians use the world without becoming a part of it? Because what we often witness is the result of our own worldliness in action, beginning with the motivation to be popular and pleasing rather than faithful and true. Then the hand wringing begins, but isn’t that all a bit hypocritical? The gospel is peppered with warnings of being aware, beware, the infiltration of the worlds methods, madness, and messages. If we would use media with discretion at the outset, we would not find ourselves in the pickle we do. But we have been so used to corrupting the message of Christ with our own cultural adulterations that we are simply doing “business as usual” when we make our worship and preaching mini-extravaganzas…sure to impress and regale us.

Now, I am not against specific styles of preaching, music, or even the choice of media vehicle, so don’t read me that way, please. What disturbs me is our displacement of the “first things” that Christ delivered to us. Those things are more important than our politics, our leisure activities, our dress, or any of the other peripheral choices that so occupy the discourse of Christians.

I’ll continue the topic until I run out of thoughts.

inspired by evangelical outpost‘s challenge to discuss message and media.