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Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes…
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Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith (edition 2016)

by Shane Hipps (Author)

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1645129,653 (3.69)None
Flickering pixels are the tiny dots of light that make up the screens of life - from TVs to cell phones. They are nearly invisible, but they change us. In this provocative book, author Shane Hipps takes readers beneath the surface of things to see how the technologies we use end up using us. Not all is dire, however, as Hipps shows us that hidden things have far less power to shape us when they aren't hidden anymore. We are only puppets of our technology if we remain asleep. Flickering Pixels will wake us up - and nothing will look the same again.… (more)
Member:jallen77
Title:Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith
Authors:Shane Hipps (Author)
Info:Zondervan (2016), 208 pages
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Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith by Shane Hipps

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Visual media rewires the brain--from abstract thinking, which is both good and bad.
  kijabi1 | May 27, 2011 |
Little Dots Comprise the Image

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines a pixel as any of the small discrete elements that together constitute an image. The pixel is a building block, a portion of the larger whole. Without pixels, no image exists.

Similarly, people are the building blocks of culture and society as a whole. If the entire population of one country moves to another continent, no culture remains. In Flickering Pixels, Shane Hipps attempts to break down technology in order to analyze its building blocks and its effects on society.

With his prior career in advertising providing a unique perspective on the relationship between media and culture, Hipps writes Flickering Pixels in a skeptical voice. The basic thesis found in these chapters is a request to pause, take a step back, and evaluate the way media and technology influence our culture and more specifically our faith.
Technology's Relationship With Culture

Although not evident in everyday life, technology continually reshapes culture. The Greatest Generation remembers life before and after the television set; Baby Boomers consider life before landing on the moon different from life after the moon landing; Generation X defines itself in relation to the computer, and the Millennial Generation identifies life in pre- and post-iPhone terms.

Looking back at how society functioned decades earlier provides evidence for changes in culture, but we do not often consider how technology has altered culture over the years. For example, text messaging enabled people to send quick and efficient messages to each other. This technology, however, included some unintended consequences: the rise of text messaging prompted the rise of chat speak (e.g., Lol, wut, 2kewl4u, rotfl).
Technology's Relationship With Faith

Just as technology creates inadvertent outcomes for culture as a whole, Hipps narrows the focus to effects of technology on the Christian faith. Referencing the influence of the printing press on the Reformation, the author contends that technology has been shaping Christian tradition for millennia.

More specifically, when the printing press provided Bibles in the vernacular of the common people, the way culture viewed Scripture fundamentally changed. Whereas stained-glass windows were previously the medium of choice when depicting gospel messages to the masses, the printing press created access to the logically linear arguments of Paul. Exchanging icons for a text, those Protestants participating in the Reformation paved the way for a Christianity defined by logic and reason.

As Hipps contends, since the presentation of the gospel through technological means carries residual effects, it is important to evaluate its impact. Should churches simulcast sermons on video screens? On the one hand, simulcasting offers the benefits of increasing the number of people capable of hearing the message. On the other hand, presenting a sermon on video creates a pressure to place unwanted preference on the appearance of the pastor and his or her surroundings.
To What Extent Should We Accept Technology in Our Faith?

Even though I find value in stepping back and continually evaluating the effects of technology on my faith, I am afraid that Flickering Pixels reads as a warning against the uses of technology in the church — as if a wrong technological step in the modern church leads to heresy.

When Hipps references his previous career in marketing, he seems to be ashamed of his actions. His starting position is that his work of marketing luxury automobiles was morally wrong. In my opinion, the author seems to associate the use of technology to promote Christianity in the same skeptical light.

As a pixel is the building block for an image, perhaps technology is a building block for successfully sharing the Christian faith. Although we should avoid uncritically accepting technology in our faith and cultures, it is important that we avoid the overreaction of skeptically dismissing technology.

Despite Hipps' cynicism of technology, Flickering Pixels is a short, quick, and thought-provoking book worth reading.

Originally posted at http://spu.edu/depts/sbe/cib/reviews/review-flickering-pixels.asp ( )
  lemurfarmer | Nov 18, 2010 |
NCLA Review - Many technological changes have come into our world since the beginning of time and the author shares many thought provoking aspects of technology. Going back as far as the book of Exodus he reminds us that God used over 200 verses and 6 chapters to detail the technologies that were to be used for worship. Surely then He is concerned with our technology today!
Our technology [application of tools and methods] though is not about hardware or software but about being the hands, feet and heart of God in a broken world. Flickering Pixels leads us to look beneath the surface of things and learn how to be God’s medium and message. Many real life stories and passages of Scripture are included along with some distracting Saturday Night Live illustrations. The author is Lead Pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Rating: 2 —ARG ( )
  ncla | Dec 21, 2009 |
The title and the subject material were such that I could not resist the book. Hipps explores the impact of technology and the media on our daily lives and on our beliefs. I think the book is good and worth reading, but for me it did not teach me that much or provide that much new insight. For someone not in the middle of the technology industry, however, I think the book would be very useful and thought provoking. Even for folks well versed in technology and the media, it is worth reading for the occasional new insights that Hipps brings. ( )
  wbc3 | Oct 31, 2009 |
In Flickering Pixels, author Shane Hipps claims that Marshall McLuhan is one of the greatest thinkers you’ve never heard of. To the contrary, most Canadians are familiar with his iconic phrase, “The medium is the message.” Having been familiarized with many notable Canadian figures through publicly funded television shorts that ran in ad slots on national television, his maxim is quite familiar to me.

Hipps’ work is unusual for a Christian non-fiction title; exploring not the tenets of the faith, but rather how technological advancements affect our faith. As a professing internet-dependent Christian, this title offered the possibility of having my toes stomped on - a risk I took in any case.

Drawing material from his previous release (The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel and Church), Hipps has retooled his application of McLuhan’s proverb for lay audiences. Readers intrigued by this ‘media-lite’ version can look there for additional depth.

The main thrust of the title is in the examination of how changes in the presentation of information affect our minds and understanding of said information. It’s really a great premise, well written, intellectually stimulating, and at times even witty. Moving through the print age, telegraph, radio, telephone, television, Internet and other forms of communication, Hipps details how the method — the media format itself — impacts our thought processes, and ultimately how we relate to those around us, the scriptures, and God Himself.

I found it ironic that a title exploring the impact of various technological advancements from the printing press to text messaging would be littered throughout with pop culture media references to well known franchises such as Saturday Night Live. Were these examples chosen as a head-nod to the power of the popular, or does Hipps suspect that many Christians are closeted SNL fans?

Some “Magic Eye” images were included for fun as well; maybe someday I’ll be able to decipher them. In any case, Hipps is careful to mix up his carefully constructed philosophical ponderings with a splash of fun and kept me moving quickly through his brief work.

Flickering Pixels could have sported a possible alternate subtitle: Media 101 for Christians. Enough material is provided to stir the thought processes, prompt conversation, and provide a broad overview of the topic, while failing to deliver concrete suggestions and applications of the knowledge shared.

While lauding a discrete set of benefits that advances in media have provided, Hipps seems more concerned with pointing out the danger and the warning signs surrounding each technological advance and then recommending readers think about the impact these technologies have on their lives.

Maybe I’ve missed something here. Yes, I realize media changes us, and I agree with the many, valid, well-phrased explanations of such changes. The question remains, though, have Hipps exhortations to examine our media choices impacted my life significantly? I’m afraid not.

No matter how often I roll these thoughts around in my mind, I come to the same conclusions: I love being able to communicate and receive knowledge through a variety of formats while seeking to shield my family from any inappropriate uses of these tools. Perhaps it’s due to our somewhat abnormal use of media that I find little encouragement here, or the open-ended, one-sided discussion without a clear position.

Whatever the case, media buffs aside, I doubt this work will capture the imagination of the work-a-day Christian reader.

Reviewed at quiverfullfamily.com ( )
  jenniferbogart | Apr 25, 2009 |
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For Andrea, my light and love.
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Flickering pixels are the tiny dots of light that make up the screens of life - from TVs to cell phones. They are nearly invisible, but they change us. In this provocative book, author Shane Hipps takes readers beneath the surface of things to see how the technologies we use end up using us. Not all is dire, however, as Hipps shows us that hidden things have far less power to shape us when they aren't hidden anymore. We are only puppets of our technology if we remain asleep. Flickering Pixels will wake us up - and nothing will look the same again.

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