Tag Archives: media

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I’m struck that commentators still fail to add a disclaimer — distinguishing between news and speculation. The real story here is us — namely, the nature of poor news coverage and the desire to skewer someone as soon as possible.

Whether this was accidental, willful ignorance, or purposeful, we as the public simply don’t know. In any case, there are far more possibilities than commentators would have us think.
My guess, and only a guess, is simply that no one checked the air pressure at all — just like we don’t empirically test balls in other sports.

Many merely assumed that everything was okay. If that’s the case, then ethically, negligence has always been considered a lesser offense than conspiracy.

There was a safe assumption (because few honestly cared), and according to Brady, the balls were randomly selected out of a bag. This process was described by Drew Bledsoe (Brady’s predecessor and former rival) during an interview today, and there’d be no reason to stop this process of random selection. The QB reaches in a bag and selects the ones he likes; no NFL quarterback has an air pressure gauge in his back pocket to test each football. He assumes.

Again, that’s not to excuse anyone — merely to remind us that the media is not exactly known for being perfect. In the meantime, we might guess, but we should hold back judgment. Maybe my guess is way off, but at least I label it as a guess. We should demand that reporters do the same.

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In many churches, there has been a subtle change over the past decade. When we started using PowerPoint for worship, the majority of churches would use a slide for a verse, another slide for the chorus, and so on. Today, however, the trend is to use a slide for 2 to 4 lines — more like a snippet — in order to display larger font, include artwork, or show video of the band.

While this generally looks better and in a few cases is helpful, we should not accept it without question. One downside of fewer lyrical lines being displayed on a slide is that it makes it more difficult to memorize the lyrics. Rhymes are split between slides, and congregants have a more difficult time determining what is the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge. Also, it is impossible to “look ahead” to scan what lyrics are coming up.

This may seem insignificant until you consider the consequences it has upon our worship. In my own case, I have noticed that I close my eyes and raise my arms less because I need to be more concentrated on figuring out what words are coming next. As with all new media, we need to examine how such media affects the way that we worship.

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Although I haven’t read much of Karl Barth’s writings, thanks to Richard Mouw’s blog, I discovered these deeply penetrating ideas in his Prayer and Preaching.  Among many other pieces of advice, Barth offers the following advice regarding preaching:

Do not indulge in allegory; exercising one’s talents on the Word hinders it from sounding out clearly. One should also beware of intruding one’s own individuality or enlarging on one’s personal experience by using illustrations or parables drawn from events in one’s own life.

Barth’s emphasis on the sufficiency of God’s Word is a refreshing reminder that we are messengers of the Good News, but not the authors.  We must remain true to the text without adding a plethora of our own ideas and life experience.  As I would summarize his ideas, in a sermon, people should hear from God, not an entertaining speaker.

His comments also relate to how we view creativity in the Church.   In the midst of illustrations, videos, dramas, songs, PowerPoints, artwork, and so forth, we should always be cautious of “indulging” in those things.  One sign of this is when we are more excited about the medium than the message.  The two should never be confused.

There is a fine balance.  On one hand, we should use all of our talents to communicate God to others, and this includes our creativity; but on the other, we should be careful to distinguish between God’s Words and our words.  Because God’s Words are immensely more valuable, it should not disappoint us that we are merely messengers.  We do not need to make things “more exciting” with what we add to the message.

There is a lot to think about here.  Obviously, Barth’s ideas can be taken too far, and maybe at times they could seem impractical.  However, I think it’s a fair reminder that everything we do — whether preaching, teaching, creating, or serving — should be subservient to God’s Word.  When it comes to the end of the day, our actions should ultimately point others to God rather than ourselves.