Hearing Jesus in the Visual Age

I’ve come to really enjoy Mark Galli’s weekly meditations on culture, which attempt to advance a “beautiful orthodoxy” (as the Christianity Today editor often puts it). Galli aspires to this with humility, admitting that our best efforts tend to be shaded and partial. Even still, we mumbling, stumbling Christians ought to help convey God’s truth to a watching world. So it matters that we think about things—everything, in fact—seriously.

To the point, I don’t think Galli is taking our day’s “visual tsunami” too seriously. It sure seems like a true diagnosis when he writes:

One thing I have noticed is this: images help me feel quickly and with relative ease—and for this I am grateful. But a steady diet of images seduces me to stop thinking. Critical thinking isn’t everything, but when one is assaulted with images day after day, and when images (in the form of television, movies, and Instagram) pull me away from reading that makes demands on me (and thus can change me), I worry that I will end up breezing along in the jetsam of culture instead of living with freedom and intention.

He then admits, “These reflections are clumsy and hardly do justice to the writings that explore in great depth the relationship of word and image, much of which I find hard to fathom frankly.” Read the whole (and brief) piece here, and let me know what you think of his observations: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/february-web-only/surviving-tsunami-of-images.html

As a Christian, I savor humble and honest commentary on this broken and beautiful world without the rancor or neurosis of the loudest and proudest talking heads out there. Jesus spoke a lot about his own true judgement of things and the need for deeper healing than we’d care to admit (John 5, Luke 11-12…), but he spoke without malice or damaging criticism. “It’s not a coincidence that Jesus is named the Word,” Galli remarks. Though Jesus is heralded in the book of Hebrews as the “radiance of the glory of God, and the exact imprint [or image] of his nature,” the insta-gratification of our visual culture should tell us that to fully understand Jesus, the Word, he must be listened to diligently and read intently. We’ll then see him as he is with eyes of faith.

 

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