Oude! Weblog van Henk Medema

augustus 26, 2010

Truth is about people, information is about things

Filed under: Uncategorized — henkmedema @ 5:57 am

Most of us who are working in the field of communication – authors, publishers, editors, booksellers, magazine directors, and many more – don’t need to wake up to the fact that a lot is changing in their field. It’s a truism. The new media are here to stay, indeed probably to explode in new developments, and the old trades are in serious danger, in a way they have not been since the revolution of the printing press with Gutenberg in the 15th century. We are living in intriguing times.

Not only are most of us in the professional field of media aware of this, but even the avarage reader feels the impact, and becomes involved in various ways. What does not generally come with this awareness, is the measure of impact of this media revolution. It’s not just about blogs, twitter, nings, e-books, tablets, apps and more. We’re not only talking about digital technique. In fact, we need to give a great deal of attention not just to the changing forms of media, but we have to be keenly aware that it cannot but affect the communication itself, either positively or negatively.

Jesus made this point in His discussion with religious leaders, after He had forgiven an adulterous woman (John 8). What they did, was making judgments in a human way. This trembling sinner was about to be stoned, when our Lord protected her – interestingly, by the way of media: writing. The religious leader saw her as an abstraction, an object of ethical or theological discussions. Jesus saw a real human being, and His love went out to her. He spoke the truth, did not hesitate to speak strongly in terms of sin, and encouragingly in terms of the Light and following Him. But she was a real, precious person to her.

Information is about things. More and more of information is channeled through the internet, and that is excellent. But meaningful truth is more, and it cannot be delegated fully to just the new media. Truth is about people, ultimately – and God (or at least our view of Him) is involved. In the new media, we are able to get closer to the real person. No longer is the distinction so sharp between broadcasting and narrowcasting. But the danger is also that, being able to sharpen our marketing tools through them, we construct a virtual reader, or a virtual customer. Instead, we should endeavour to consistently approach people with the truth for what they are: God’s beautiful, unique creation.

A great example is in the Pixar movies, as Robert Velarde shows in his recent book THE WISDOM OF PIXAR – how even (like in CARS) simple technical toys come alive as human beings, manifesting bits and pieces of divine wisdom. As Christians, we have the privilege to communicate truth. Let’s find creative ways for that.


augustus 4, 2010

Who’s Got the Whole World in His Hands?

Filed under: Uncategorized — henkmedema @ 11:15 am

The day started as usual, with the Word, with prayer, and a couple miles running. That usually wakes me up. Today I also listened to my favorite worship website, and picked up very traditonal lyrics, which I remember from the time of Mahalia Jackson: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

It did stick with me, while I was reading the news, and started working on my mail, a few books that I am developing as a publisher, a new media project, a trip to Denmark, and received several phone calls, not all of them with good news. And indeed, while I was also working on LausanneCT2010. The whole gospel, by the whole Church, to the whole world. It made me think.

Who’s got the whole world in his hands? Me! – that’s what many politicians would say, or would want to say. The French president, Mr Nicolas Sarcozy, is of the opinion that he has at least France – if not the whole world – in his hands: visiting Grenoble, he ventures some strong judgments about ethnicity and crime. The Dutch neo-liberal Mr Geert Wilders has the idea that he has at least Holland in his hands, and he steers towards a situation where he will be free to offer any strong statement about islam and muslims, and not only come away with it, but directly influence the government.

Who’s got the whole world in their hands? Us! – that’s what Christians do not say audibly, but there are some traces back in remote corners of their heart, invisibly perhaps. There is a very real danger of those thoughts hovering around LausanneCT2010. We ‘have’ the whole gospel, do we not, us Christians (and we thank God for it)? We are the Church, are we not, us evangelicals (‘by grace’, we say)? We have a right view on the whole world, and who else but us is able to help this poor world (‘by the power of the Spirit’, we add reverently)? We pity the world, but part of this attitude is not real compassion, but arrogance. We don’t pretend to have the whole world in our hands, but we think we’re getting close.

With LausanneCT2010 only a few months away, we’d do better to start learning true humility. Which means a lot more than just the state of our souls, but also the framing of our minds. We need to be radically critical about our own mindset. There are philosophical words for that, but they are connected with postmodernism, and many of us think Christianity is rather congruent with modernity. It is not. The Christ who is at the center of Christianity emptied Himself, and came close to us as a servant, without the least form of pretense. Let’s humbly acknowledge that it is in the hands of the Son that the Father has put everything in heaven and on earth.

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