Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Holiness and Modern Media: Introduction

Therefore be careful how you walk... (Eph 5:15)

We're going to interrupt the previously attempted restart in order to post on my recent foray toward a Biblical understanding of Christian holiness in a media-drenched world. A sufficient number of requests have prompted us to post the audio of Sunday's class, "A Wise People: Holiness and Modern Media," on the website, but its Socratic nature may make a blog series more helpful.

Our way forward in holiness amidst modern media, will not be through Christian obscurantism, which would condemn every technological advance since 1611 and directly connect every modern medium to the coming of the Beast. After all, if we accept Merriam-Webster's definition, that media denotes "a medium of cultivation, conveyance, or expression," we must conclude that media was God's idea.

Condescending to communicate to His creatures, God has written a book, which is, in fact, a medium! There was even a book before the foundation of the world (cf. Rev 13:8). God, in His mercy, is a revealing, communicating, transcribing God, so to condemn the use of media in toto would be short-sighted. Needless to say, media has undergone a bit of development since God finished His book sometime in the late first century.

We live in an age of prolific media opportunities and intrusions, where the means of communication and expression develop at a speed unseen by previous eras of humanity. We may organize the media onslaught in three general categories:
  • Published Media, which is disseminating information for public viewing and would include books, periodicals, websites, and blogs.

  • Broadcast Media, which is the transmission of information to a mass audience via audio and/or video signals and would therefore include radio, television, movies,Mp3 players, etc.

  • Communication Media, which is the transmission of content between two or more individuals and encompasses cell phones, texting, social networking, etc.
Yet, while the efficiency and immediacy of these forms of communication receive great attention, we have not always given the same care to critically consider the media we use, especially as Christians. Have we even thought to ask whether our use of media may have trade-offs or draw-backs? The truth is we often assume that because something is new it must be better and if it is new and fast... well, then, what imbecile would stand in the way of such apparent progress? And as we are swept along, we may be failing as followers of Christ, holy and set apart by His blood, to ask the most important question: how is this medium affecting my life before my Savior and my God?

So, in the few posts that follow, we'll be seeking to uncover some of the capacities that may be endangered if we do not consider such questions as
  • What values are inherent in my use of media?

  • How does media impact my thought, my worship, and my relationships?

  • Are the patterns and habits cultivated by media helpful or harmful in my walk with Christ?
All of which is essentially to ask, how carefully do I walk?


  1. http://www.rivercitygrace.org/mp3s/090621equippinghour.mp3

    Great stuff...

  2. Is it just me, or does anyone else see the humor of posting this on your blog? :-)

  3. I neglected to explicitly mention the irony, Sharon, but I am enjoying it. Remember... media was His idea! :)

  4. Way to be Steve, going all Marshall Mcluhan on us! I am looking forward to reading this, as my wife and I tend to be a tad legalistic on this issue. Maybe it's those Paul Washer diatribes...

  5. Tim, thanks for popping-in to heckle me! :) I know, McLuhan, Postman, Ellul... we'll see what kind of technological curmudgeon I become yet! Blessings to you guys.