Friday, September 3, 2010

Does Christianity have a future ? Part 2

By the age of six, the average American child will have spent more time watching television than he or she will spend speaking to his or her parents in an entire lifetime. More than 6 hours a day are spent watching movies, television or videos. Dick Rofle, Head of the Dove Foundation (which identifies movies and videos meeting family standards) states, “When you spend that much time watching something, you have just developed new role models and a new window on life. And I think that’s the destructive value of some TV and movies…. Viewers get the wrong impression and a distorted view of what life is really like.”

Recently, the cable television industry sponsored a study that was conducted by Media Scope. In their findings, Media Scope stated that society reflects the values of film and TV.

George Barna has been quoted, “Young people’s belief system is the product of the mass media.” Barna also conducted a landmark 2004 study which offered surprising results about the connection of faith and lifestyle choices. His findings have led him to conclude that faith seems to have little or no impact on one’s lifestyle choices, including so-called born-again Christians. Could this be a direct impact of media and its influence, not only on the culture, but on Christians as well? Most experts agree that we have entered into a post-modern and post-Christian society. What started this transition, and how can the Church have a better understanding of cultural relevancy?

To begin with, the Church needs to break out of its Christian subculture. We have Christianized everything. For example, in the late 1970s, Christian recording artists started signing with emerging Christian record companies, which launched a new era of contemporary Christian music. Subsequently, this has lead to the creation of an entirely new industry and subculture. Up to this time, recording artists who were Christians released their material on mainstream labels, such as Capital and RCA. Their music was bought by Christians and nonChristians alike. The lyrics weren’t watered down for a secular audience. The message they were presenting in their music was a Biblical view on life. Early artists who pre-dated the rise of contemporary Christian music had a significantly greater impact because they had access to a broader audience. The creation of the new contemporary Christian industry ended all of that.

Next, we need to understand the concept of cultural relevance and how we become culturally relevant to the people we are trying to reach? We need to recognize who they are, what their needs are, and how to identify with their lifestyle. We have moved from a “one dominant” culture to a “multicultural” society—from Western influence to Eastern influence, from a low-tech society to a high-tech society, from communicating primarily with words/books to communicating through images/film and from a Christian worldview to a society with many world views, including Eastern religion, New Age, and secular. The Church is trying to communicate with the world in a language few understand today because the vast majority of the current generation has no point-of-reference in relating to Christian faith.

Tuesday Part 3

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