Friday, April 25, 2008

Media and the Gospel Message

If the medium affects the message, how will the Christian message be affected by the new media?

Responding to a symposium profiled at Evangelical Outpost, Ilona addresses this and other questions for modern Christians, followed by some reflections and observations worth reading.

...A living organic message, such as the gospel, is limited... A single statement does not a life pathway make. The limitation of internet media, which is our own medium as bloggers, is its disconnection with aspects and relationships of a physical presence. It has a living give and take, but without the context by which we gauge the veracity of the message or person- without the checkpoints of hard copy writing, without the cues of a person’s actions....
In media, the temptation is to show the world who Christ is according our wisdom. Our culture, so informed by marketing, most values the image. Its incarnation as its own entity- quite apart from what it is to represent- is the idol held up for our example and estimation. So Jesus is made to be “winsome”, “macho”, ”revolutionary” in response to the taste du jour of the crowd. Cloaked under buzz themes of “seeker-friendly”, “our partner”, or whatever justification is desired to polish up the image of Jesus, AKA Christianity”, rather than the One True God who has torn through the veil of flesh to meet with us, both as He is and as we are. That sort of intimacy with a Holy God just doesn’t hold the same shiny promise of mass moving, viral ‘branding’.

Billy Graham and others notwithstanding, something about broadcast evangelism causes what some call a "check in my spirit." I can't put my finger on it and I know a lot of viewers and listners have been materially helped by this means of spreading the Word. I recall watching Oral Roberts in the fifties inviting people to put hands on the television to receive the full benefit of his healing ministry and wondering as a youngster if medical problems could be resolved that way.

Read her full essay and think about it.

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