Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 23, 2009
New media can break through barriers
Basilian says media can be catalysts for forming Church communities
WCR PHOTO ILLUSTRATION | GLEN ARGAN
“For this reason, I would encourage those who can use the media to capture the stories of our elders, so they are not lost,” said Valka.
The second danger is the need for simplicity, the ever-coveted sound bite. People cannot sum up the reason for their faith in a five-second sound bite, he said. It is important to learn to be a good steward of the media.
“As stewards of the media, we must be careful not to oversimplify our subjects, whether it be catechesis, matters of the spirit or the stories of people’s lives.”
In an era of shorter attention spans and the apparent need for over-stimulation, today’s media uses flashy images, lively music and glitz to keep the consumer’s attention.
A challenge for the Church is to keep the Sunday sermon from being just another drop in the media bucket and being lost in ambiguity.
Another detriment of modern media is that the moments once filled with silence are now filled with the noise of electronic games, reality TV and You Tube videos.
“The result is that silence — that time when we are most open to God — is basically an endangered species. The irony, of course, is that in our constant state of connection, this has challenged our ability to relate to people in the flesh,” said Valka.
As examples, people on transit buses are plugged into their music, never acknowledging the people who sit beside them, he said. Worse yet, sitting together at a table, people send text messages to friends who are elsewhere.
“So what we learn from this is that people desperately want to belong to community. They definitely want to live integrated lives.
“How sad is it that we then use the media and technology to achieve the exact opposite, leading lives that are isolated, segregated and compartmentalized?”
People want community, but not a community that is conformist and exclusive to a class group.
“Catholicism has always embraced humanist values. Literature, art and even the media all have the ability to lead us to God, even if that’s not their intention. If we are to be good stewards of the media, we should look for opportunities to bring out the very best of what we see on TV, in the theatres, and on the music charts,” said Valka.
Using recent movie releases as examples, he challenged others to think how they could be used to lead others into conversations about God or issues pertaining to the Church.
Seven Pounds speaks of retribution for our sins. Horton Hears A Who relates to issues of human dignity. Changeling examines the role of the Church in civil issues.
The Internet makes the Bible and theology more accessible. Most Catholic print media are available online. Other live media and downloads mentioned by Valka include Salt+Light Catholic Television, H2O News, and Provoke Radio.
“Through Internet blogs and social networks, we have the ability to live out our call as storytellers, not just of Christ’s story, but our own,” said Valka.
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