A Pixelated Faith?

I just finished reading a fascinating booked called “Flickering Pixels,” which, by the way, is much more appealing than “Flixering Pickles.” The author, Shane Hipps, is a Mennonite pastor in Arizona who has previous experience in the advertising field. It gives him a unique perspective on the book’s subtitle, “How Technology Shapes Your Faith.”

Hipps expands upon Marshall McLuhen’s famous phrase “the medium is the message” to show how the rapidly changing communication mediums in today’s world (email, blogs, text messaging, etc.) tell us something about the value of the message and the relationship being nurtured. And as our world continually moves from the print age to the digital age, the ways those message are communicated will continue to transform.

This has major implications for Christianity, a religion that has become heavily reliant on the print form of communication (we have this book you may have heard of called the Bible; it’s kind of a big deal). How do we keep our print message relevant in the digital age? How do we communicate the printed gospel through modern technology. I’ve already decided that text-messaging the Bible to my friends would be a little time-consuming, not to mention that my thumbs would fall off. And although we can use technology and scripture together, it feels a bit sacrilegious to read Paul’s message about not being conformed to this world on an iPod.

Hipps says we need to rethink how we define the medium for communicating the gospels. He says that the methods and means for communication will change and the church should strive to keep pace. But in his last chapter (interestingly titled “Y’all”), Hipps says one thing will never change: the church will always be the medium and the message for God’s word in this world. We are God’s most effective method of communication for telling this world about the Good News and showing what God’s love is all about. Other mediums will come and go (anyone still own a Betamax copy of “The Ten Commandments”?) but the church is enduring. It is up to us to be the bearers of God’s good news.

Go, therefore, and be the message.

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