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Engaging with culture - why Christians must understand the popular media
Have you ever stopped to think about what you experience in the course of a normal working day? There is a wealth of obvious things like breakfast, buildings, chairs, rain and people. But what about the deluge of television programmes, music, websites, films, advertising hoardings, radio stations, magazines and podcasts? Much of the time, in fact, we probably focus more on the spectacle of images and sounds that constantly clamour for our attention than on anything else. That’s the kind of media-saturated world we live in. American cultural commentator Douglas Rushkoff says we live in a ‘mediascape’ more than in a landscape.
You can make a difference to world evangelization. God can use you.
This short article by Greg Laurie, used by kind permission, reminds us that we are unique, and may touch lives in ways we cannot imagine. I have heard it said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. What I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.” One godly man or woman can make a dramatic difference, even in the darkest of circumstances. Jesus put it this way:
Facebook and missions - the potential for cross-cultural outreach
Because Facebook is worldwide in coverage with many language versions, it provides a range of opportunities for cross-cultural evangelism. There are multiple options for sharing the good news cross-culturally on Facebook.
Digital Rivers Newtown - a short story illustrating the growth of social networking
It’s not often that a completely new town is built on unused open land. But that’s where Digital Rivers Newtown was constructed, in a previously undiscovered valley. People soon came flooding in to live, moving from surrounding settlements such as Printville and TVtown.
Resources to help Christians understand how to relate to and use culture
It is vital that we learn to understand and relate to modern culture. Here are some helpful resources: Engaging in the cultural landscape – Ministry Toolbox article by Kevin G. Harney, adapted from his new book Organic Outreach for Ordinary People, Zondervan. 19-minute Q Talks conference session with Josh Jackson. 17-minute Q Talks conference session with Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making.
Video clips for Christian ministry - easy way to make one
We often respond to visual images much better than pure words. On the high street, do you look for words or known shop logos? It’s the shape and color of ‘Subway’ or the ‘M’ of McDonalds we recognize, not the word itself. On our computer desktops, we look for the PowerPoint icon, not the word. Images say much more than words alone, and magnify their effectiveness. And moving images hold our attention. There is great potential for video clip outreach.
Christian messages in movies - drawing out hidden redemptive themes, eg Slumdog Millionaire
Michael Landon, director of film The Velveteen Rabbit, is interviewed by CT magazine, on his thoughts about being a Christian in Hollywood. (You can subscribe to Christianity Today Movies for more good stuff like this.) The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic children’s book which explores the moving and recurring theme of being made ‘real’ through a search for redemptive love. Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence engages with this at a more adult level, as do so many other books and films – Love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico is just one such classic.
Book review: Netcasters Using the Internet to Make Fishers of Men, by Craig von Buseck
Von Buseck presents a unique overview into the vast and growing potential of the digital media to share the good news of Jesus. There has been no title like this since Andrew Careaga’s books in the early days of the Web. Its well-researched and visionary coverage, interviews and case studies are indispensable to anyone needing to understand the nature of the new media and how to use them effectively.
Book review: Hooked on the Net by Andrew Careaga
Andrew Careaga, a self-admitted Internet junkie, examines Internet addiction from a solid Christian perspective.