The church can be uncertain of itself in our digital age. Some Christians denounce the twenty-first century’s media culture while others embrace the latest gadgets and apps as soon as they appear. Many of us are stumbling along amidst the tweets, status updates, podcasts, and blog posts, wondering if we have ventured into a realm beyond the scope of biblical wisdom.
Though there is such a thing as “new media”, Andrew Byers reminds us that the actual concept of media is ancient, theological, and even biblical. In fact, there is such a thing as the media of God. “TheoMedia” are means by which God communicates and reveals himself – creation, divine speech, inspired writings, the visual symbol of the cross, and more. Christians are actually called to media saturation. But the media that are to most prominently saturate our lives are the media of God.
If God creates and uses media, then Scripture provides a theological logic by which we can create and use media in the digital age. This book is not an unqualified endorsement of the latest media products or a tirade against media technology. Instead, Byers calls us to rethink our understanding of media in terms of the media of God in the biblical story of redemption.
Part 1: Media Old and New
1. In Search of a Script: Is the Bible Media Savvy?
TheoMedia Note 1:When Our Social Media Talk Back
2. Contextual Gaps: Media Commercialized and Secularized
3. Harbingers of Gloom and Glory: Christian Responses to Media Technology
TheoMedia Note 2: The Mediation of Sex and Violence
4. Media Dark and Bright: Image Making by Fractured Image Bearers
TheoMedia Note 3: When Screens are Oracles, Portals, Stages … and well, “Screens”
Part 2: The Sights and Sounds of Israel’s God: Multi-Sensory TheoMedia in the Old Testament
5. Creation and God-sponsored “Media-Events”
6. Physical Structures, Visionary Encounters, and the Media of the Absurd
TheoMedia Note 4: Aaron and the Calf: Idolatry and Technological Determinism
Part 3: The Speech and Texts of Israel’s God: Verbal TheoMedia in the Old Testament
7. Word Anxieties and Word Theology
TheoMedia Note 5: Online Theology: When God Is Blogged
8. The Story of the Great King and the Lost Book: A Narrative Theology of God’s Words
TheoMedia Note 6: “Weighting” Media: The Shema in Our Twenty-first-Century Homes
Part 4: Media Christology: Jesus, Media Legacies, and Focal Media Practices
9. The Page-Splitting God Who Rips Sky and Veil: An Interlude
TheoMedia Note 7: Fading Away from the Scene and into the Church:
Celebrity Culture, Christian Leaders, and John the Baptist
10. Gospel and Incarnation: Jesus as the Ultimate TheoMedium
TheoMedia Note 8: Paul and Canonized Social Media: Two Lessons
11. Crucifixion: Cross-visuality and the Eucharist
12. Resurrection & Ascension: Word-media, Baptism, and Christ as Mediator
TheoMedia Note 9: Word versus Image? Dismembering the Sensorium … and Christ’s Body?
12. Christ’s Return: Apocalyptic Media and the End of Mediation
Part 5: Conclusion
10. The Spirit and the Bride: A Rough Theological Framework and “EcclesioMedia”
Endorsements and Reviews
Andrew Byers has put new wine, a culturally savvy reflection on the church’s engagement with modern media technology, into an old wineskin: biblical theology. … If the medium is the message, then the church needs the guidance Byers gives as it seeks to fulfill its vocation as God’s new media for communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to a spiritually distracted, culturally noisy world.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
With his unique blend of compassionate pastoral care and insightful but accessible scholarship, Byers offers us a theologically rich vision of the proper place of media in the life of the church.
John Dyer, Executive Director of Communication and Educational Technology, Dallas Theological Seminary
Byers provides a truly theological framework for interpreting media, not in its individual manifestations, but as a mode of relating in itself. … he gives a solidly theological account of why the biblical story matters when theologians consider 21st century digital media. … He takes complex forces and conveys their importance in a readable and accessible way. For that, and for his work to serve the church and broader society in conveying the message of Christ in a life-giving way, I thank Andrew Byers for this particular medium.
Jeremy Garber, in Journal of Religion, Media & Digital Culture, Vol 4, Issue 1