The band is rockin', arms are swayin', and you're about to come on screen in high definition with such stunning visual clarity that even people in the nosebleed seats can see your perfect smile.
Is this a rock concert? A beer commercial? Or just a typical Sunday morning?
These days, it could be any of the above.
Whether you're a questioning congregant, a concerned pastor, or a perplexed professor studying the effects of media on religious practice (like me), the use of technology in the worship setting is worth considering.
Media are not neutral. Like ideas, they have consequences, especially in the church. And some of these consequences should give us pause. In Technopoly media theorist Neil Postman writes, "A preacher who confines himself to considering how a medium can increase his audience will miss the significant question: In what sense do new media alter what is meant by religion, by church, even by God?"
Given the impact of new media, we should carefully consider the medium of Christ's message.
We don't want to reduce our religion to an ideology that is but one of many in a marketplace of ideologies. Nor do we want to make the mistake of having the medium we deploy compromise the authority of the message we proclaim.
Image is King
Two years ago the Chicago Tribune redesigned their paper to be more image and web-friendly. They simultaneously eliminated half of their staff—mostly the word people.
This illustrates an undeniable reality: In our society, the written word is no longer the dominant mode of communication. Instead it is visual media comprised of pictures, film, video, symbols, logos, and certain art forms. And our culture worships the images they convey to us. It is no coincidence that film is the most expensive ...