Posts filed under ‘faith’

Media shapes your belief ~ part 5 (the power of a story)

image We are told that every picture tells a story and they are worth thousands of words. However, looking at images alone can make us feel rather than think.  Think about it, the printed word is primarily processed in the left side of the brain along with logic and linear thinking. While images are primarily processed in the right imagehemisphere of the brain. When you see an image the brain processes it all at once. Describe the same picture and it is described in a linear process, word by word.

Some researchers believe that too much TV can make your brain lazy. Does TV make you hyper? dumb? lazy? distracted? What was the question? We love images, especially moving images, kind of like we love sugar. Sugar is enticing, tasty and eating it is a great sensual experience. But too much sugar is bad for your body, just like too many images without other input can remap and restructure your brain to think differently. There is a difference in the manner that electronic media saturated generations perceive the world compared to generations or people groups not exposed to to it. We must reach our image saturated culture with stories to satisfy the right brain preference people have today. Stories are well received by readers and non-readers.

Like it or not we are affected by the forces of our digital age. Stories echo with greater intensity than ever before. A friend of mine recently went to Africa to bring clean water to areas in Sudan. Most of the people he visited did not read or have TV but communicated with stories. They even had the ability to repeat a detailed story after heating it one time. Perhaps more messages can be communicated in story-form to bridge generational gaps and people groups. Stories could be an effective method of teaching. It’s really a blast from the past because pre-medieval people taught their history through stories. Several savvy marketing companies have already realized the power of stores and I predict we will see more messages communicated in this manner in the future.

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps



July 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief ~ part 4

image The printing press existed some 800 years in China prior to it’s European debut in the 1400’s but it did not have the same effect on people of the east and west. The Chinese language is written in pictographs and not in the same linear fashion as in the west. For example the single character to the left represents “woman”.  Western writing on the other hand is made up of individual letters that are formed into words. With just 26 letters in the alphabet it’s possible arrange them in many combinations in order to create any word. In Chinese, one word or thought must be represented by a single character and this results in a huge number of characters.

image Johannes Gutenberg invented the western printing press by creating a new use for a wine press. Prior to the press and the printed word, history was passed on in the form of stories verbally or written down with pen. Printing made writing repeatable and uniform. The printed word affected learning for the entire western world. The printing press was the first assembly line and also made possible the industrial revolution. The invention of the printing press led to a restructure of our imaginations – our very way of thinking and even our beliefs. It formed conditions that led to how linear thinking is entrenched in western thought.

Linear reasoning and belief through reason and fact – was a result of the printing press.  Printing makes us prefer cognitive processing of ideas in a linear fashion while at the same time diminishes imagination, intuition and emotion. It can even make us suspicious or fearful of feelings if they run contrary to “logical” reasoning found in the printed word.

imageON May 24, 1844 the first electric communication was sent between Baltimore and Washington DC by Samuel Morse – the famous message was “What hath God wrought?” and the telegraph was born. Prior to the telegraph, most information was shared in books but with the telegraph information was a commodity whose price was determined by how big the message was and how far it traveled. This led to shorter pieces of information or the modern news story. We marvel at the internet and TV but these are simply an extension of the telegraph. Today’s news stories are seemingly random non-associated pieces of information resulting in a mosaic of facts thrown at us at the speed of light.

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps

… to be continued


June 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief ~ part 3

I came home from work the other day and my wife told me how our cat had gotten so excited. She plays a game with our cat Ringo – he knows to look out the French doors if she says “look at the squirrels” or “look at the birds”. Well a bird came right up to the window and they watched for many minutes. The bird had become enamored with his own reflection in the glass. It took him a long time before he realized that it was not another bird. The bird did finally understand it was a reflection. We need to see image things for what they really are – to see the difference between the message and the media.

The Greek mythological story of Peruses and Medusa offers a solution.  If you were like me you watched the Sinbad movies as a kid you know this story. Medusa was horrifying monster in the land. Everyone that gazed upon Medusa was turned to stone. But Peruses uses his shield. He watched her reflection in his shield, the gaze had no effect and he is able to cut off Medusa’s head.

Both this tale and the story of Narcissus use media, a low tech mirror to receive the message of a reflection. Peruses understood that the mirror medium was a reflection but Narcissus did not. In the same way if we fail to realize the difference between the message and the media, things can take on god-like characteristics and we might become their servants.

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps

… to be continued


June 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief ~ part 2

imageNot separating the message from the medium was a shortfall of Narcissus – the Greek mythological hero. Narcissus was blessed with supernatural good looks. All the women of the world adored him. All the maidens could not have him and wined and complained to the Greek gods. So the gods created a pool of pure silver water in the woods. Narcissus discovered this pool and when he leaned over to drink he was stunned by his own reflection. He mistook the image for a handsome water spirit and he fell in love with his  own reflection.

When he leaned over to kiss his fair face, the reflection fled upon contact as the liquid was disturbed. In time the image would return and he would become enamored once again. This continued over and over until in time Narcissus withered and died.

Most people say He fell in love with himself and that this was a story to warn against self love. But perhaps the chief error of narcissus was that he failed to recognize himself in the reflection. He was numb to his own extended image in the low tech medium of the silver water. He did not see the image as an extension of himself and so the image had the power to harm and ultimately kill him. If he had only understood the water was simply a medium, a mirror reflecting his own image, he would have gained control.

You must separate the message from the medium. Media is only as good as the message. Media itself is not evil. Now you may be thinking that the production value of some media is very bad, but that’s another topic all together.

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps

… to be continued


June 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Media shapes your belief


I usually get around to discussing media with people I meet. Some think today’s technology filled media is evil. Media is neither good or bad.  It’s neutral, like plumbing in a house that  doesn’t matter unless it springs a leak.

In 19th century England there was a people group called the Luddites. They destroyed machines used to make wool and cotton fabric. They thought the machines were of the devil. But in truth they were protesting the dehumanizing  advances of technology in the industrial revolution. It wasn’t the machines that created horrible working conditions and poor wages – it was people.

imageToday in America we have the Amish, who maintain a equally radical, but less violent rejection of technology. They prohibit automobiles and electricity based on their theology. I must admit that after watching the 1985 movie “Witness”, there is a part of me that finds their lifestyle appealing.

In the first matrix movie – Neo, the main character, gets and answer to a question that is bothering him: “What is the Matrix?” Morpheus the prophetic guide has Neo in a secret room. Neo anxiously awaits the answer. But something averts his attention – to his right is a cracked mirror which reflects a fractured image of himself. As Neo looks into the mirror the cracks begin to recede and blend together, making the mirror whole. Now Neo’s reflection is no longer fractured and this surprises him. I believe the mirror imagerepresents a foreshadowing of the coming clarity that Neo is about to get about the technology that has imprisoned him.

Neo now studies the mirror rather than his reflection. He reaches out and touches it, but at the point of contact it bends and bows like liquid mercury and then snaps around his finger tips. He recoils but a portion of the medium stays on his fingers and then quickly multiples until it begins to consume him. Immediately the film cuts to Neo trapped in an incubation pod, struggling to escape. From here he is “born” into the real world and the story turns into a new direction.

The mirror is a metaphor for the technological world of the matrix. The mirror at first appears harmless but then suddenly takes on a life of it’s own. When Neo studied the medium of the mirror, instead of being distracted by his reflection he was freed from the prison of his mind; it is only when he observes the medium apart from it’s content that he perceives true power. With that discovery he is freed from his numbness and slumber. So are we!

This post was inspired from the book “ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith” by Shane Hipps

… to be continued


June 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment


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