Conversely, Byers suggests the Cross should lead Christians to crafting media that points away from the self, even when self-glorifying messages ("You were mentioned in a Tweet!") worm their way into our inboxes. Perhaps a better question than "How often are you blogging?" might be, "Who is this post going to benefit?"
Finally, the Resurrection leads Byers to adopt a perspective of "hopeful realism," a disposition that interprets "the tragedies and glories of our age through a 'hermeneutic of resurrection.'" In an age of government shutdowns and manufactured crises, it's not hard to watch the news and turn cynical or even depressed. Indeed, God calls us to inhabit the tragedy of Newtown or the pain of the Aurora movie theater shootings without glossing over human suffering. But Christ is resurrected, and Christians read history with a hopeful slant. We can choose to tell stories—whether as pastors, marketers, news anchors, or writers—focusing on the glimmer of light shining through the darkness.
The Digital Deluge
Last year Time magazine did a survey of 5,000 people from 4 continents and found some startling results on smart phone usage. Eighty-four percent said they couldn't go a single day without their phones, 20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes, and 50 percent of Americans sleep with their phones (that number rises to 80 percent for 18-24 year olds). For American teenagers, touching the screen of a smart phone is the third most common activity behind sleeping and breathing. Everyday popular media is pouring into our pockets quicker than we can evaluate the digital deluge. As New York University professor Richard Sennett has said, "Technical innovations run ahead of people's ability to use the innovations well." Considering that there may be no more common activity among Americans than media consumption, perhaps it's time to re-focus our media habits in light of the media of God.
Jeff Haanen is executive director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work.