<%image(20051212-matrix.jpg|60|90|matrixmeanings)%> It has been a really good morning and afternoon with Barry Taylor. The image here is the book he co-authored: A Matrix of Meanings. As promised I have a few nuggets of pop-cultural wisdom from our discussions today.
Question of media is complicated. Some people resist it. The technologies that we use shape the society as much as the content that we put in them (Marshal McLuhan [spelling??]). Eg. Books take you into a private world, but electronic media is more interact and communal in its environment. When a church moves from text alone to text and visual there is a shift. People need help to understand how to use them.
THE IMAGE OF JESUS IS ALWAYS CONTEXTUAL AND ITS ALWAYS CHANGING. Every culture deals with Jesus on its own terms, symbols, interpretations, adds stories, etc. Part of the challenge is that many people don’t think Christianity of the past 50 years is not contextualization, they think it’s the culmination and that we have it all down. The story of the church has always been about contextualizing Jesus into a specific moment of time.
The problems come when we try to harness Jesus for all times, all people in the modern paradigm. Its not a matter of postmodern vs. modern.
We need to recontextualize and recapitulate Jesus for our time and then we’ll have to do it again. We need to connect with the symbolic language of people.
There is a lot of brand Christianity. That’s how consumer culture works. Branding will happen, but are we doing it right?
Consumerism: products sell a lifestyle, not just the product. So the iconic image of Jesus can generate a certain way of being. What are selling? Does Jesus = middle class values?
TV and media are reflectors of culture, not shapers of culture. It took Narnia and Lord of the Rings 15 years to the screen. Movies take about 3 years to make it to the screen. They do not shape, they reflect what is already there. TV does the same. If TV shaped the world, it would be much more successful, the same for most movies that tank. If these industries are so smart and pervasive and we are so passive, then why is the failure rate so high? The film industry has no idea where the culture is at.