Wednesday, May 21, 2003

I Can Hear You

Some ideas - or more accurately, some questions are shaping around the idea of voice.
This is partly due to a comment from David Weinberger’s presentation that has been bouncing around the back of my head for the last week. Someone (Sorry, don’t remember who) mentioned that the practice of blogging has influenced other areas of their life, that they are more likely to speak up in meetings and such, because they have developed this online voice. After the presentation, it was noted that I didnt say much during the discussion. (okay, I didnt say anything.) For some reason, this has become my MO in classes too – I tend to stay quiet more days than not. Its not that I don’t have anything to say. I’m really not sure how to account for this apparent loss of voice. Yet, I dont feel that Im not heard when I do speak. Which is the greater problem for relationship and community? The loss of voice, of the feeling of not being heard? What does it mean to be heard? It does not mean that people will agree with you, necessarily. It definitely doesnt mean getting your way on everything. So what does it mean? I think being heard is when the other person’s voice can stop long enough to recognize your voice. And using our voices for building others up. The Parker Palmer book we’re reading for Congregation Development talks about the practice of hospitality in your private voice, and how that affects your public self. I’m not sure where all this rambling is going, but I have a feeling these voices in my head arent going anywhere. For now though, I must turn my blog voice to Ethics.

Veggie Tales – A Posting for Ethics

Tuesdays class focused on Michael Budde’s discussion of TV as a culture industry. After discussing the formative effects TV has on American/Western culture (he even suggests, on pg. 73, that television has nearly supplanted culture), Budde concludes that the Church cannot use these methods to perpetuate the radical alternative that is the Christian faith to the world. It seems that there are two underlying assumptions at work here. First, Budde seems to be proposing a more separatist Christian ethic, arguing against too much engagement with the “world”. I just dont buy that. Jesus used cultural references to teach his disciples and the crowds. I know it’s a cliché, but we are called to be in the world, just not of it. Secondly, I think Budde is equating method with motivation. He claims that if the Church has control of all the networks, there would be too much pressure for them to keep the money-machine of TV running as a money-machine, even if it did fund good evangelism and social justice works. This temptation for ‘easy money’ is not specific to television, or global culture industries, or even the 21st century! Greed, easy success, oversized pride causing oversized dreams of human accomplishment – we have stories about that, the Tower of Babel for one. Methods can always be misused. But that misuse does not make them bad methods. So, when I have Sunday School kids in my church someday, Im not going to hesitate to watch Veggie Tales with them, sing the silly songs with Larry and talk about what weve learned. Because learning is exactly what can, does, and will happen. If it werent, why would we or Budde care this much about TV to begin with?

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