We live in an age of imagery

Photo by Marjan Grabowski on Unsplash

Photo by Marjan Grabowski on Unsplash

It was 10:00 AM on a beautiful Sunday morning in Austin, Texas. I slowly made my way into the sanctuary of the church. I was visiting a new church that I’ve heard much about.

The worship service and the sermon left me thoroughly unimpressed.

Something was off.

But this church was not that unique — it resembles many of the 30 or so other churches I have visited in Austin over the last few years.

There are many reasons to be unimpressed with this church and the majority of churches in America today.

Let’s delve into one of the reasons why I believe our churches and society have lost something — lost something crucial to our very existence.

One of the most influential books of my life is the book Amusing ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.

This is a must read by any who would call themselves an intellectual or a thinking person.

The book discusses how the medium is the message, and how the form of communications which we utilize greatly impact the information that is being transposed.

Postman goes on to bemoan the negative impacts of television, radio, and the telegraph on society (all before the Internet and the smartphone).

The progression from books to newspapers to radio to television to the internet and now to social media have changed how we operate.

We are being dumbed down.

The critical thought of those in a society based on the written word are long gone — we are living in an age of imagery. A global society swayed by the images on a screen and the visual effects on the devices surrounding us.

Long gone are the days of thought, intuition, focus, and boredom.

At the click of a button, all “news” is available to us. All “information” is at our grasp.

But we have lost something.

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? — T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot understood that in a world of maximal information, something is lost — knowledge, wisdom, and even life.

Our modern world is overwhelmed with information and data — but lacking in wisdom.

And what is wisdom?

One of the tenets of wisdom is “to consider one’s end”:

O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end — Deuteronomy 32:29

Through the mediums of imagery and instant information that abound in the modern world, the skill of thinking long term is slowly becoming more rare. Very few people think far into the future — even fewer consider their end. Fewer still consider where they will spend eternity.

Churches today scarcely resemble the churches of 100 years ago — strobe lights, fog machines, the music, and a hip pastor. Most Churches resemble a rock concert more than they do a Church service.

Few churches read or spend time studying the Bible anymore — this is a vestige of the past.

The churches that do focus on the Word — can barely get anyone to sit in the pews.

People in our current age, an age of imagery, aren’t impressed with churches that are focused on the written Word.

Photo by Jean-Frederic Fortier on Unsplash

Photo by Jean-Frederic Fortier on Unsplash

As I left the service that day, I couldn’t help but wonder: how much we have lost?

We’ve lost our attention.

We’ve lost our wisdom

We’ve lost our intuition.

And we may have even lost a piece of ourselves.