Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Superiority of the Word

John Schroeder has been thinking about Narnia in book and movie format and wonders if verbal communication is not inherently superior to visual:
Is our societal trend to the moving picture, be that film or television, problematic? . . . .

Do words reach deeper into us than images possibly can. Most people would argue the opposite, but now I am wondering. I have been moved by images, but my life was changed by words, well actual The Word. What about you?
Well yes, it has. As others have pointed out, the shift in contemporary culture from word-oriented to image-oriented will have profound and as-yet unseen consequences. In biblical times, God's people practiced a Word-oriented faith in a sea of image-oriented paganism. In that context, what impact will the church experience from the rush to bring images--from blockbuster movies down to homemade PowerPoint presentations--into the assembly?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really glad to see this idea expressed! I have wondered about it at great length prior to seeing anyone else mention it. And I have never fully believed the often repeated statement that today's people MUST have visuals because that is the only way they can learn, as if man has "evolved" so much that he has a different sort of brain than, say, Moses. Today's man may be out of practice in using words, but that doesn't mean he can't be taught.

God speaks so very much about his word and its significance and power in His Word. Surely that counts for something!

1:16 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Well said.

2:07 PM, December 07, 2005  
Anonymous Geoff Matheson said...

Your post and the linked post seems to me to miss the point. Yes Christ spoke using words, but God has spoken countless times through visions and dreams, through physical things (burning bush etc.) and the notion that God would only speak through words (which might be exagerrating your point), seems to be an attempt to limit the work of God.

Surely, no matter how it is communicated, the love of God is the most important thing, and the message of salvation. Whether that message is communicated through words or through visual media seems to me to be irrelevant.

8:03 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for adding to the discussion, Geoff. Yes, I certainly don't want to limit the way God works. God works any way he pleases. He directed Jeremiah, and Agabus both for example, to give visual messages to God's people.

I can't speak for John, but my concern is that in our rush to engage the culture we need to at least consider the impact of our methods. The shift from a predominately word- to image-orientation is having profound impacts on our culture, and the church needs to consider how we will flow with or against that tide. I don't know what the church's response should be. My point is that I don't see a lot of us even considering this bigger picture, and we should.

All the best at The GeoffRe(y)port.

8:34 PM, December 07, 2005  
Anonymous p4p said...

their expression of faith wasn't limited to written word was it? The exclusion of images was limited to representations of G-d.
(Consider too that the written word was based upon an oral tradition).)The difference now of course is that we believe Jesus is Incarnate-true God and true man therefore we can have representations.Overall,this trend to the visual isn't limited to Christianity but our way of thinking in general.I would hope that the visual doesn't replace the written though i'm afraid it already has. I read a gr8 deal but i also accept images.(In particular Byzantine icongraphy).
I don't often watch a movie and tv is out except for EWTN.So i'm not a visual person but i do appreciate the depiction of Christ in art and icongraphy. However,i would not be so sure that they were not visual-given technology now it stands to reason we would be more visual.But i don't think that means they weren't.

12:49 PM, December 09, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for the input. By the way, I notice you, as I've seen other people do, write G-d. What's the reason for omitting the vowell? I had a discussion with my Hebrew teacher on this question, and he doesn't know either.

4:07 PM, December 09, 2005  

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