As you read this post the summer issue of Leadership is arriving in mailboxes. The issue tackles the impact of living, and ministering, in an increasingly visual culture. Many churches are eager to employ video and other new digital tools, but is this tread helpful, harmful, or completely neutral to our mission? To preview the theme of the summer issue here is an interview with Shane Hipps on the hidden power of visual media from our partners at Faith Visuals.
How can we be better about perceiving the power of media in both our churches and our lives?
Probably the best orientation that I've discovered to help me understand the real power of media was when I read a quote by Marshall McLuhan where he says, "The content of any medium is the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind." What he's saying is that the medium itself has a power, a bias, and a meaning regardless of what message you put through it. He's challenging the metaphor that we often assume: Media are simply pipelines, a neutral conduit through which information can be put through. I think it's crucial for Christians to begin to perceive the media forms themselves, rather than just looking at - and understanding - the content. We're too easily distracted by the content, and we miss the power of the medium.
You mentioned Marshall McLuhan. In your book, The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture, you talk about McLuhan's four laws of media a lot. Could you explain those a little bit, and how they are useful for thinking about the media we use?
Sure. The only difficulty with the four laws is that it feels a little unnatural at times. It can be hard to answer some of those questions. The point is not to get the right answers; the point ...