The 2008 EO/Wheatstone Academy Symposium

Blogging, Culture, Symposium — By on April 14, 2008 at 12:15 am

While the current political cycle has sharpened our focus on the role of religion in the public square, we often fail to reflect on the role of the public square upon religion. Increasingly, when Christians engage others in public forums, we do so using tools that we did not develop. Whether through movies, music, or new media, we tend to start with a pre-existing cultural forms and incorporate the Gospel as best we can.
As communication theorist Marshall McLuhan argued, the tools we use to communicate a message can shape that message in ways we may or may not intend.* If this is true then Christians have a duty to critically evaluate the effect of our media choices on our message. Do our choices of media forms allow the message to remain Christian? Or are the tools with which we communicate at odds with the message of the Gospel?
In order to explore the issue in greater depth, I’ve decided to make it the topic of the 2008 EO Symposium, sponsored this year by Wheatstone Academy.
Responses to the following question will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, April 25th:

If the medium affects the message, how will the Christian message be affected by the new media?

The top five posts chosen by our panel of judges (James Kushiner from Touchstone magazine’s Mere Comments, Melinda Penner from Stand to Reason, Matt Lewis from Townhall.com, and Matthew Anderson from Mere Orthodoxy) will receive:

(1) A full tuition scholarship for a Christian high school student of the winner’s choice to Wheatstone Academy. [A $950 value]
(2) The ‘Quintessentials’ from Stand to Reason, including the Ambassador Basic Curriculum, Tactics in Defending the Faith DVD, Decision Making and the Will of God CD set, and a signed copy of Greg Koukl’s new book Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air. [A $150 value]
(3) A $200 donation made to Compassion International in the name of the winning blogger.
(4) A full-tuition scholarship to the upcoming GodBlogCon (September 2008). [A $150 value]
(5) A two-year subscription to Touchstone Magazine. [A $59.95 value]
(6) A year subscription to Townhall magazine. [A $34.95 value]

The first place winner will have their choice of items with the second place deciding between the remaining four items, etc. The sixth place winner will will automatically receive the unselected item.
Those who choose only to write a brief comment promoting the Symposium are still eligible to receive a prize for participating. Anyone who includes a link to this post and a brief comment will be entered into a separate drawing for one of three copies of The New Media Frontier, forthcoming from Crossway Books.
To include your post in the symposium, send the following information to eosubmissions@gmail.com:

  • Name
  • Name and URL of blog or website
  • Title and URL of post
  • Brief summary

Finally, I am grateful to those sponsors who have generously given time and money to make this year’s Symposium a reality, especially Wheatstone Academy, a discussion-based summer conference that seeks to instill a love of learning and dialogue in Christian high school students.


* For more background on McLuhan and his theory, read Mark Federman’s excellent introductory article.


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  • http://wondersforoyarsa.blogspot.com Wonders for Oyarsa

    Hi Joe,
    Do you have an example of some previous essays that give an idea of the length and style you are looking for?

  • http://www.russsellsmusings.blogspot.com Russell Smith

    Joe,
    Your readers might find some rich resource material at our “Geek Culture Mission Project” on Facebook….we’re Christians trying to figure out how best to utilize social media and extend the love of Christ to the Geek subculture (of which I am proudly one).
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23992843280
    Russell

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Wonders Do you have an example of some previous essays that give an idea of the length and style you are looking for?
    Here’s a link to the posts that has links to previous entries:
    http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/2005/04/eo-blog-symposiumphase-one-entries-and-support-links.html
    But there is not specific style or length that you need to follow. “Be interesting,” is about the only criteria. ; )

  • Gene

    Joe
    You write, “Responses to the following questions …”
    I see only one question, so I assume “questions” (plural) is just a typo, right? Or is there something wrong with my browser?

  • http://tomgrey.motime.com Tom Grey

    One of the most obvious issues raised by the question of the media is one effect from movies & TV: “commitment love” that is not so photogenic nor action oriented will be crowded out by “lust love” that emphasizes feelings of the momemt.
    The commoditization of sex is related to this, as well as the “free” TV nature. TV is not free. Advocates of mass consumerism pay TV salaries in order to get eyeball attention — they’re call advertisers.
    [It’s great you’ve fixed the sidebar in IE.]

  • Marie

    Imagine my shock seeing Biodome first on the “bad movies” list – it’s one of the two or three on there that I’ve seen, and we love it. It’s one of those frequently quoted movies in our family. One of my kids is always tossing off a line of Bud’s or Doyle’s. It is really a funny movie.
    Kangaroo Jack is one of my grown son’s favorites. . . he listed it so on his Myspace. I guess my family has no taste? Or else the list makers don’t.

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