Monday, October 22, 2007

GodTube: what's the deal?

Jamie sent me this recent LA times article about GodTube. It's interesting for a lot of reasons, but it brings to light some issues that have come up in my religion and media class recently, besides the questions I wrote about on this blog back in March.

The article says, "As far as what the site considers appropriate, Wyatt has said 'if we wouldn't want an 8-year-old girl to see it, then we won't allow it.'" This is a question that has come up in my class recently: why does something have to be appropriate for children to be labelled "Christian". Do all Christians need to avoid the ugliness, complexity and seriousness we would keep from our little girls (note, it's a little GIRL that is our ideal audience as well). Are Christians and Children the same thing, from a media standpoint? I should hope not. I know that Jesus asks us to have faith like a child, but Paul also said when I became an adult I put childish ways behind me.

Another interesting segment from the article:
What can you get on your laptop that you can't get from the pew? The answer, according to [Professor Heidi] Campbell, is more sustained and satisfying personal interaction. That includes matters like in-depth theological discussion, prayer support, opportunities for confession and the like.
Is this really the case? Do people get more sustained, personal, human interaction online than in their local churches? If this is the case, church members need to seriously rethink the ways their church functions. As I argued in another class when we were reading Robert Putnam, I'm all in favor of human relationships through technology and across distances, but when you get sick, or have a family member die, nobody from the internet is going to show up on your doorstep with casserole.

It seems, in this case, that christian branding on the internet is working the same as in other media. I wonder if the editorial rules and ideological community will lead to more bickering than more open communities on the internet, or lead to an online site that is perceived as "safe" and even a good locale for evangelism...


coralhei said...

Sounds like you have a good theological head on your shoulders, Bethany. (I'm married to a theologian, so I have some idea of what I'm talking about.) "Christian" should not be a synonym for "children's" -- it can't be, if Christianity is to address all of life. My wife feels similarly about Christian music. She has CDs of a number of great Christian bands who get no play on the mainstream Christian media simply because they don't follow the formulas of safe praise music and instead sing about life in all its richness, the good and the bad.

Rachel said...

Wow, that's unbelievable! My parents sheltered me a little, but at least they understood that there is a time for moving past McGee and Me.