The Visual Generation and Christianity

As someone born on the cusp of Gen Y, it still sometimes amazes and overwhelms me when I try to take in all of the visual input that surrounds me. Everywhere we go, and particularly in the virtual world, we are surrounded by visual information, demanding attention. Pop up windows, split screens, emoticons…. blinking signs, huge screens, advertising – all of it screams look at me! Take notice!

So how do we best appeal to learners who are not only surrounded by this, they thrive on it! I once read that we take in more information reading a newspaper than a woman in the 18th Century took in during her entire life – any wonder people feel like their head is too full and there is not enough time! One answer is to take advantage of Audio Visual techniques. I could talk for a million years on this topic, such is the breadth and depth of it, however today I am narrowing the focus to visual literacy in Christianity – sparked by an article I read in ‘Pointers’ – the Bulletin of the Christian Research Association.  Here’s a quote from it:

“I have often been amazed at the way religious themes move into ordinary aspects of our lives, especially those parts of the media which surround us and we take for granted. I once remarked to someone about the important political, social justice and even religious themes in Steven Seagal films. The person was a little incredulous, but when I
outlined some of the movies in which themes of political and environmental justice issues
predominated and the Buddhist influence on Seagal himself, it was evident that the person would look upon these films in a different way. Images are all around us, but it sometimes takes a second look to see what is there.” Peter Bentley

While I am not suggesting we rush out and buy the entire Steven Seagal collection (thanks to my husband, we already own this!) I am suggesting that in the areas of Religious Education, Values Education, Social Justice and even faith formation, something that captures the imagination of our students (in this case, film) may be just the ticket, especially if it offers the chance for ‘real life’ , ‘real world’ or  ‘secular’ concepts to be reinterpreted through a deeper lense – because that is what religion and faith really is, isn’t it – taking the experiences of life and responding to them through the lense of our beliefs and values? It is certainly not something removed from everyday life, thought of only on a Sunday, and in our best clothes at that (despite what we are sometimes led to believe).

Links that provide reviews of secular films through a Christian perspective:

 http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/movies.cfm

A funky site that offers ‘pop culture from a spiritual point of view’ – check it out for reviews of movies, dvds, books, music and comics.

http://www.foxfaith.com/

Fox Faith is an online guide to current and upcoming faith-based video releases from Fox Faith, a new branded distribution label from Twentieth Century Fox, created to house and distribute its growing portfolio of morally-driven, family friendly programming. To be a part of Fox Faith, a movie has to have overt Christian content, or be derived from the work of a Christian author.

http://www.dove.org/default.asp

The Dove Foundation provides timely movie reviews easily available on our website.

  • Prepares consumers by providing them with detailed content information before they purchase, rent or attend a movie

  • Includes a synopsis of the film, a critical review, and a content description supported by an easy-to-read chart

  • Rates the quality of Dove Family-Approved films ranging from one to five “Doves”

 The Dove Foundation promotes family-friendly entertainment. Our standards and criteria are based on Judeo/Christian values, free from the pressure of commercial interests. We believe in a positive approach of commending high-quality, wholesome movies rather than condemning filmmakers for not meeting those standards.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/features/nowshowing.html

Christianity Today Movies is an award-winning website devoted to film reviews, interviews and commentary, all written from a biblical perspective. Our mission statement is “to inform and equip Christian moviegoers to make discerning choices about films through timely coverage, insightful reviews and interviews, educated opinion, and relevant news—all from a biblical worldview.”

 So next time you feel that your class needs a little ‘visual literacy’ – perhaps consult these databases for a lesson that will hopefully impact both mind and heart!

Until next time…

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sam.Rackal
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 05:39:29

    I am delighted for the info. on The Visual Generation and Christianity. I will pass this along to my fellow Christians. Thank you.

    PS. Are there secular films suitable suitable for using church school classes– mostly children.

    Sam.R

    Reply

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