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Are we thinking?

September 6, 2013

Lawrence Terlizzese is a Probe colleague who focused his doctoral studies on theology and technology (his books are available on In his forthcoming radio program/article titled “The Church and the Social Media Revolution” he says this:

“A basic law of media says the wider the audience the less substantive a message simply because it must appeal to the common denominator in the general audience. The more people you want to reach the less of a message you will have, which means keep it simple when it comes to a general audience so the majority of people can understand it. This is the drawback of instant and mass communication. We sacrifice quality of thought and depth of analysis for instant access to a mass audience and for immediate applicability of a general principle. In other words, we are telling people what to do without reflection, which is time consuming, slow, and simply awkward.”

This is an important issue for mass communicators in the church from preachers to radio talk show hosts to writers using various mediums. Unfortunately, it means that a lot of Christian teaching is surface; people get lots of bullet points but little real understanding. Even worse, there are Christians who believe we ought to keep most all our lay level teaching on this level to reach as wide an audience as possible. We might reach more people, but how deep are we taking them? Does real understanding result? And what about those who can go deeper who are likely the ones with greater influence in the church and in wider society?

Lawrence’s main concern in his article are social media, but this comment brought to the surface a concern of mine. Our pluralistic society gives people the impression that there are simply a lot of different opinions from which we are free to pick and choose to form our own worldview or philosophy, or simply to meet the demands of the day. Upon what basis do we choose? Attractiveness? Workability? Convenience? Ravi Zacharias’s radio program is aptly titled: “Let My People Think.” Christians must stop moving, sit down, focus, and think. The church suffers without it.

Lawrence’s article will be posted Monday, Sept. 9 and can be found using the search bar at An article of my own which addresses this, “Digging Our Own Grave,” can be found there, also.

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