Media Culture

In a media-drenched world, how do we become aware of our silently shaping influences? Where should the church act as a counterbalance? Media consultant Gordon Pennington draws upon his marketing experience in a provocative course intended to help us understand and win the battle for our minds. 


01. Understanding Culture

Gordon Pennington begins by sharing some of his personal life story as a backdrop for his lectures. His father’s absence, early marriage, and first experiences with Christianity are some of his significant points of influence.  He begins to look at what he calls the crisis in culture as he discusses techno addiction and the fragmented state of  society witnessed in the decline of culture and the Christian  worldview.  What is the Christian’s role is in responding to the  consumer mindset in our culture? Are we present in the culture and is our worldview is being adequately represented?

Tags: Drug use, culture, Internet, television, technology, consumerism,  American culture, relevance, marketing, Bhutan, Shangri La, authenticity


02. Q&A: Church & Media

Gordon Pennington fields questions and discusses feedback from participants.  The discussion encompasses being  influential in the realm of media, art and culture and the role of the  church in these arenas.  Discussion also addresses the ideas of  community, creativity, cultural inclusiveness, and art as a  truth-telling device.

Tags: Diversity, community, creativity, the arts, media, movies, film,  culture, relevance, marketing, cultural inclusiveness, ethnic diversity, ethnicity, Latino, authenticity


03. Rediscovering Identity

In this lecture, Gordon Pennington discusses the idea of poema, that we  are God’s living poems.  Weaving in themes of living dangerously, being conscientious objectors, and living as part of God’s great romance, Gordon discusses how the present culture degrades us from this glorious position and ultimately robs us of our  humanity. Discernment and discrimination get lost in the baptism of entertainment.  Spirituality and compassion give way to  rationalism and selfishness. What should our response be?  How are we to maintain undivided hearts as strangers in this land?  

Tags: Postmodernism, rationalism, French Enlightenment, Sartre,  Solzhenitsyn, Francis Schaeffer, Santana, King David, television, poema, discernment, culture, arts, media, pragmatism, marketing, advertising, consumerism, American culture, identity, technology, Internet, wisdom, pop culture, ephemera, slang, cultural formation,  language, techno-primitivism, transcendence, reality television, social  Darwinism, church, ecclesia, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, political correctness, diversity, mission


04. Confronting Culture

In this interactive lecture, Gordon Pennington speaks of the Christian  confrontation with culture.  He interacts with the audience about  the transforming response to culture as people who both confront and  transcend it. He explores how  the early church engaged, influenced and modeled an alternative culture.  Dialogue, transparency, accessibility and community become  important themes. How have traditions throughout history helped  to preserve this?  How would we do the same today? What role do pre-consideration and post-consideration processing play in our understanding of how we engage, influence or model alternative culture today?

Tags: St. Stephen, community, cell group, monastic  tradition, medieval age, dark age, Kevin Cahill, Western Civilization,  feudalism, Roman Empire, Albert Finney, Charles Finney, Charles  Spurgeon, Oberlin College, Greek Classics, racial equality, women,  women’s rights, tolerance, political correctness, Cotton Patch  Community, the Cotton Patch Gospel, the Jesus movement, communes,  Buckminster Fuller, Robert McNamara, The Fog of  War, The Weather Underground, JPUSA, Cornerstone festival, Hasidic  Jewish community,  the Amish, Lord Acton's sage, sons of Issachar,  Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther, Marilyn Manson, Martin  Luther King jr., Walt Disney, William Wilberforce, Jennifer Lopez,  Mahatma Gandhi, Shaquille O'Neal, Bono, Megadeth, Adbusters,  anti-globalization resistance movement, contemporary Christian music,  Christian music, televangelism, evangelism, pre-evangelism,  postmodernism, discernment, culture, arts, media,  pragmatism, marketing, advertising, consumerism, American culture,  church, ecclesia, ecclesiology, diversity


05. Q&A: Consumerism

Gordon Pennington fields fresh questions and feedback  from participants. Discussion ranges over consumerism, producing  alternative cultural options, and the accessibility of God. Discussion also addresses relating with God at our deepest level of  hunger and bridging the gap from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Is our greatest unrecognized asset the Holy Spirit?

Tags: consumerism, St. Paul, love, Mother Teresa, Internet, marketing,  media, cultural inclusiveness, Einstein, theory of relativity,  evangelicalism, American Christianity, the Holy Spirit


06. Transforming Culture

Gordon Pennington explores what it means to be part of New York City culture. He addresses factors he deems important to be considered in that specific cultural context.  Gordon discusses the formation and ongoing sense of mission as a  foundation for cultural engagement. Gordon goes on to share some personal ways in which he has been part of acting upon a personal sense  of mission in his specific cultural context.  He shares specific  examples of how they have chosen to use film and familiar social contexts in New York to help facilitate dialogue about spiritual matters.

Tags: John Donne, truth, media, New York City, news media, united  nations, education, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman,  propaganda, semiotics, missiology, new linguistics, mission, calling,  film, pop culture, evangelism, culture


07. Q&A: Media & Community

Gordon Pennington concludes his course by fielding questions  and interacting with participants. Discussion involves God’s indiscriminate value of all people, the role of the engineer and other professions outside of the arts, and the influence of media and  television.  Discussion also addresses practical ideas for engaging culture in dialog away from or as an alternative to its media  addiction. Gordon addresses the principle of loving and hungering to be loved by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the foundation for building healthy community and living in the adventure of life.

Tags: Paul, Mother Teresa, poor, needy, television, media, consumerism, advertising