Taking "Communion" from the TV
Terry Mattingly has an intriguing talk about Mass Media HERE. It is well worth listening to and has some VERY insightful points about the power of media in our lives. I found his practical points at the end to be a little anti-climatic, but the notion that advertising theory is essentially sacramental was fascinating (and frightening).
But I suppose it shouldn't be surprising...much (likely all) of life is sacramental to a degree. I'm not terribly qualified to offer a precise definition of "sacrament" and indeed, perhaps we'll let western theologians attempt to offer a "scientific" definition, but I think the phrase that "you become what you behold" is applicable at some level.
And by "behold" I do not think we mean just "see", but indeed ALL the senses. I think we truly do underestimate the power of these connections to the world around us...and as Professor Mattingly points out quite well, the power of what input we receive.
"Communion" from the mall. "Iconography" from Hollywood. "Sound doctrine" from New York City television studios. "Beauty" from American Idol. "Discernment" from politicians' TV or Internet spots.
I once had a priest tell me that his favorite time of the day is the VERY early morning...before the world wakes up and the insanity begins. I understand what he means. But, as Professor Mattingly suggests, I do not think the answer is to completely tune out...though it is up to each of us to decide whether less might not be best. We turned our TV off nearly a year ago and have since been watching what little programming we watch online (I admit, I enjoy "The Office" and "battlestar Galactica").
But even online, we are inundated with news and images and programs and music etc that are more opportunities for communing with the skewed, the perverse, the slightly to horribly wrong. But, in defense of the internet, one can also find many profitable things (like this blog....LOL!) which you'll likely never find when taking "communion" from the TV.
The scriptures are full of exhortations to guard your heart and minds. "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes" the Psalmist reminds us and St. Paul has these familiar words to say in his epistle to the Philippians:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Emphasis is mine of course and speaks to the fact that St. Paul's "media" is something worthy of communing with. What about the "media" we are creating? Odds are it will mimic what we ourselves are partaking of.
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:32 AM [+]
Whoah, Mattingly is an excellent speaker! I was sad to discover this was just a short 30 minute talk. By the end, I was ready for a few more hours.
Thanks for sharing this, James.