Chapter 16 covered by Justin Wise as part of our Group Blogging Project discussing the book Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps. If you need a quick overview to what Flickering Pixels is about, please go here.
“One thing I never heard [in church] is that media and technology matter to God.” Shane Hipps is not afraid to go there. In chapter 16 of Flickering Pixels, Hipps does in fact go there.
“Where is there?” you might wonder. In chapter 16, entitled “Media God”, Hipps declares that God loves media and even *gasp* uses it to communicate his message.
Ark of the Covenant? A medium that God uses to communicate his message. That message? “I am completely Other. I exist on a whole other level. You need to treat me as such.” Same thing with the Golden Lampstand, the Tabernacle, the Altar of Burnt Offering, and the Priestly Garments–all found in Exodus. God uses them to communicate something of himself: I am holy.
God is not afraid to use the “methods of the day” to let people know that he is there. That’s he’s around and has something to say. Hipps points this out when states that if God spills a large amount of Scriptural ink describing the media to be used in worship of him, “how much more might God be concerned with our technology in the age of the iPhone?” Dang. Bring it, Hipps.
This hit me square in the face, largely because it’s true. God does care about our technology and use of it; much in the same way he cares about how we treat people, how we spend our money and what we put into our bodies. God cares because that’s what he does. He cares.
God cares so much about you and me that he was willing to become the message himself. God could have chosen to communicate himself through any medium (read: communication agent, not witch of Endor) that he chose:
He could have tapped out an APB from heaven, declaring his goodness to a waiting world. Dropped informational leaflets from an airplane, written “God Loves You” in skywriting, bellowed smoke signals from the heights of heaven, or called you on your cell phone to say, “I love you.”
But he didn’t, did he?
He chose to become a flesh-and-blood person to communicate the message that only God could truly deliver: God wants peace with you. He loves you. God is with you.
Do you realize the sheer brilliance of this? God using the “media” of humanity to deliver his message. No matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done, you know the language of humanity. You know what it is to scrape a knee, fall in love, enjoy a meal, and drool as a baby. The kicker? So does God. In the person of Jesus Christ, God knows the language of humanity, and believe me, there’s no app for that.
Hipps then rounds out Chapter 16 with a stupefying conclusion that, if I didn’t know any better, would think is a cruel joke: We are the message. That’s right: You, me, your crazy uncle, and the person who bugs you most in the world is now the medium through which God desires to communicate his love. As we live embodied and emboldened by God’s Holy Spirit through a relation with Jesus Christ, we are the message. Heavy, isn’t it?
God is a communicator, bottom line. He’s wired us up to communicate with him, with others, and with the world around us. He’s given us the tools to do so and the creativity to come up with new ways in which to translate reality. We as Christians have an even more profound charge in letting God breathe reality through us in a way that is culturally relevant; in a way that the people around us can understand. I have a feeling that with the people reading this post, there are mind-bending mediums being created through which we can more effectively communicate the message that we now, in fact, are.
I feel as though closing in prayer shall be the proper way to close this post. Join me, will you? Father of Lights, I thank you that you desire communication. You desire deliberate and creative communication. Will you make us tangible tokens of your reality? Teach us something about being the message of your love. Open our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts and breathe your reality through us. We thank you, Lord, and trust you. In Jesus name, Amen!
[Image from Riot]