Monday, October 19, 2009

Catalyst Speaker: Shane Hipps

Shane Hipps had a career in advertising as a strategic planner in communications for Porsche, where, as he tells it in his book Flickering Pixels, his task was:
to hijack your imagination, brand your brain with our logo, and then feed you opinions you thought were your own.
With this background, he became extremely media-savvy, and in this he figured out that the medium is the message. This is why someone might say something to you like, "It wasn't what you said; it was the way you said it." Because you might have said something nice or kind, but your body language and your tone of voice communicated something else.

How you say something is as important as what you say.

This is true with regard to the medium through which you choose to communicate as well. The medium, remember, is the message. And according to Hipps, Christianity is fundamentally a communication event.

I love the fact that guys like Shane Hipps are critically engaging communication culture, and it was quite ironic to be watching him on the 8 giant screens at Catalyst. But I was agreeing with him as we sang worship songs and not only were the lyrics on those screens, but they also included extreme close-ups of the worship leaders, and this was distracting (and a little bit embarrassing) to me. It elevated them from worship leaders (or lead worshipers) to big screen icons. I know that wasn't their intention, but it affirms Hipps' message.

I believe Shane Hipps is spot-on, and we need to evaluate our every use of technology as we communicate (irony #2 - that I write this on a blog, which I will share on Facebook and I really haven't evaluated how the message might change from me thinking it to typing it to it being read...)

The only thing that I think needs re-evaluated from the Hippsian point-of-view is the assertion that Christianity is fundamentally a communication event. I believe that Christianity is fundamentally a relationship; it's not just about communication, it's about a Person. To be fair, media (GREATLY) affects our communication about the Person (whether that communication be about God the Father, God the Son, or God the Spirit), but the heart of Christianity is not simply communication, it is a Person.

And that somehow changes the entire equation.

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