I have, recently, been fascinated with rise of superhero myths in culture today. From comic books, TV shows, movies, etc., they are everywhere. Pop culture is chalk full of superhero (vampires for females) stories as of late.
My hypothesis is that this is not a coincidence. I believe that our collective cultural subconscious is attempting to deal with the imminent birth of nanotechnology (just as Superman and Spiderman were born as result of culture processing nuclear technology and the effects of radiation). Listen to experts in the field and they will tell you that nanotechnology effects are on the horizon and they will significantly alter our lives. It will be possible, in the fairly near future, to inject nano-bots into our blood stream that will be programmed to fight certain (cancer for example) cells. Consequently, they would act like white blood cells on steroids. It will also, inevitably, be possible to replace red blood cells with nano-bots that will provide more oxygen in our blood streams allowing us to hold our breath longer, run faster, jump higher, etc. This is not distant science fiction anymore, this is the inevitable future. This is why, I think, the superhero myth has remerged with a vengeance. The future is coming and we, as society, have begun to collectively process it the way we also have, through story.
I, along with most of Canada, was appalled at the Vancouver Riots after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in game seven of the Stanley Cup final. However, in the midst of my disgust, I was fascinated by the events that were unfolding in the national news coverage as I witnessed the masses capturing the riots via smart phones and sharing them on social media. In the midst of breaking the law, the rioters and looters activities were being passively encouraged by the riot onlookers who stayed to witnesses and record these events. At the same time my eyes were witnessing this spectacle, I was listening to the commentary of the new’s channel reporters who, along with myself, were shocked and appalled by the hundred of onlookers who were, at the very least, recording and witnessing the destructive behaviour while all along recording it on their electronic devices.
Part of what was most shocking and ironic to me was the contrast between the new’s reporters commentary of the appalling behaviour of those who were witnessing and recoding the events and the deluge of ads the same new’s channel constantly run encouraging people to be iReporters – in essence, to do the very things that they were appalled at.
Our culture has radically shifted because of smart phones and social media. The human condition is still the same but technology (as it always been since the Tower of Babel) has found a new outlet of expression. Every piece of technology created alters our social construct and our culture and social media technology is no different. The same technology that was used to bring down oppressive regimes by putting power in the hands of the oppressed is also used to help organize riots and public looting. The same technology that stirred a crowd to act foolishly will be used, in the end, to bring justice.
Technology is not a passive force in our world, culture or social constructs.
This is a great video on the importance of being yourself in ministry using the very unique example of Mark Driscoll. I am not a huge fan of Mark per say for several reasons (which I may address at a later time – theological, missiological and pragmatic) but this video makes a great point. Too often (because it is soooo easy to do) preachers begin to mimic the preaching or ministry style of someone they connect with and enjoy listening you. The challenge is, they, inevitably, lose their focus and I would argue, their integrity and spiritual effectiveness as a result. God has called them with their unique gifts, their abilities, and even, dare I say it, their inabilities and lack of certain gifts, to their unique ministry setting. When we pretend to be someone else we are not, we become less spiritually effective then if we simply relied on the Holy Spirit to empower us: the same Spirit who knit us together in our mother’s womb, who gifts us uniquely for ministry, and who empowers us for holiness and ministry!
If we pretend to be someone we are not, even if it is for seemingly good reasons (trying to be more “effective”), we are not living in the will of God but a weird state of disobedience with a distorted set of convoluted motivations.
Coming soon...a post about the effect technology has had (to the benefit and detriment) on the ministry of preaching.