Boredom. Mundaneness. Bleh….

Name and Place for 6 January 2015

T. David Gordon has written a compelling 108 page “shoebox” book, i.e., it can fit in a shoebox, or a jacket pocket.  “Compelling” because he analyzes how and why preaching, listeners, and the preachers themselves suffer, in quite a bit of what passes for “Church” these days.

Here’s two paragraphs from Gordon’s Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers:

r-SCHOOL-BORING-large570Mundaneness is, I believe, part of the curse in Genesis 3.  The earth no longer yields its bounty without toilsome labor and much frustration.  Our routines make us more efficient, as we attempt to scratch out some form of survival in this cursed environment, but those same routines can make us more like cogs in a machine and less like humans.  Life becomes a series of tasks, with few uninterrupted moments to pause, to reflect, to appreciate.  Verse is a common-grace gift that enables us, through the fog of images and sounds, to again see ourselves and others as bearers of the image of God.  When the poet stares at that which the rest of us merely glance at, he invites us to take a longer look along with him.  It is precisely this longer look that is necessary to cultivate a sensibility for the significant.

Here, the shift of dominant cultural media has been profound, because television, in contrast to poetry, is essentially trivial.  Everything about it is trivial, and it is the perfect medium for the trivial.  Because its pictures must move (and indeed, even camera angles must move, on average less than every three seconds, it captures best those things that are kinetic, that have motion.  Yet few of the more significant aspects of life involve much motion: love, humility, faith, repentance, prayer, friendship, worship, affection, fear, hope, self-control.  Most of what is significant about life takes place between the ears, as we make sense of life, of our place in it, and of our failures and successes, our joys, our sorrows, our fears, our loves.  This world of the mind and soul is essentially a linguistic world, a nonkinetic world; a different world from the world of rapidly changing images (52-53).

This reminds me quite a bit of parts of Richard Winter’s Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment, for those who are interested in more.



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