Find us on Google+

Friday, July 24, 2009

Toward a Theology of PowerPoint #1

There's a lot to say about a theology of PowerPoint, but I haven't heard much from this perspective. We tend to get so caught up in the how's and what's that we can neglect the why's of what we do.

Theological discussions about visualization in worship are not new. In fact, the church has been having this argument for a long time. Back about 1200 years ago in the Greek Orthodox branch of Christianity they had a burly brawl about whether or not it was permissible to use icons (paintings of saints, God, Jesus, and the Spirit). The iconoclasts argued that by picturing God that violated the second commandment about creating an image of God.

What it came down to was a discussion of the incarnation of Jesus. The iconoclasts wanted to argue that since God is Spirit then no image can represent him. The proponents of icons pointed out that in Jesus, God willingly became flesh and therefore made himself representable. The proponents eventually won and we now have a rich tradition of icons from the Eastern church.

Does the incarnation still inform our use of images today? "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" so we could behold "the one and only who came from the Father" (John 1:14). There is power in seeing something. Being able to view how God-in-flesh lived life among us drastically changed us. Things can never be the same now that he has dwelt with us.

How do images change sermons? I believe that the appropriate and skillful use of images in a sermon can serve to incarnate the Word into the lives and minds of people. Perhaps it is a video clip showing the way that the people in your city view God. Maybe you share a painting done by one of the members of your church to show art can be worship.

What do you say?

No comments: