PowerPoints us to the Future


"'Jesus was a storyteller, and he gave graphic images,' Taylor said 'He would say, 'Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow,' and all indications are that there were lilies in the field when he was talking, you know. He used illustrations.' Taylor estimates that fifteen percent of American churches now have video projectors, and many use PowerPoint regularly for announcements, for song lyrics, and to accompany preaching" (Ian Parker Absolute PowerPoint 355).

As I read this quote, I thought of a few interesting points. First I began to think of how oral stories used to be told in detail for entertainment just as Terry Taylor mentioned in the above quote. The biblical characters, at first spread the word of God orally. Eventually it was all recorded in the different version we see today, but at first it was spoken through word of mouth. There were descriptive images and detail just like any oral story would be. As the biblical stories may have had deeper purpose than just storytelling and entertainment, others focused on epics like Beowulf, which began as a tale told among villages and communities that was pure entertainment. A well-spoken person would animate the story through words and motions because there was no other way to assist in visualization.

Today we have childrens' books that tell a story and yet contain large colorful pictures of catepillars brushed across the pages. Visualization has taken on additional emphasis when it comes to writing and telling stories. Even if you think about it more, these colorful, motionless catepillars are a thing of the past. Parker's article on PowerPoints offers more animation and appeal than any old illustration book.

PowerPoints are more than 2-dimensional objects on a piece of paper. PowerPoints offer 3-Dimensional features including graphics and animated images as well as communicating to an audience.

Taylor's quote about 15 percent of American churches now have a projection or form of electronic aid is something worth noting as we progress further into the digital age. Personally, my church is, in my opinion, 100% old fashioned. The organist still plays the hymns and I still have to follow along in book of hymns and I get distracted by the music notes that I have no idea how to read. All I need are the words.

As a bible school junkie, each summer, I volunteer at another church in my hometown. This past summer, we were teaching the kids new songs...on a large screen...projected from a PowerPoint presentation. The words even lit up as the song played so you knew exactly which line you were on. It's simple and creative for youngin's who are most likely going to roll up a list of paper song lyrics and beat the kid next to them over the head.
But it's not to say that the kids don't reject hand motions to emphasize their newly-learned bible song. They all go hand-in-hand, audio, visual, and oral. Which brings up my last point referring to yesterday's main topic that new technological advancements do no necessarily mean the old ways are discarded, they are simply absorbed to fit the needs of a changing world.

Flash back


From my experience working at a summer camp I'm all about those PowerPoint slides to show the words. But we only use those after meals when EVERYONE is in the Dining Hall.

But personally, I don't like the in church PowerPoints. I feel like it takes away from why you're actually there. If you were there to read just the words and not the notes then stay at home and sing along with the lyrics on your computer and the CD music in the background. I'm all for technology growing and making this easier. But there's just some things that are good how they already are, without all that techy stuff - and I have to say a traditional church service is one of those things.

I see both of your points about PowerPoint in church. I'm Catholic, so I'm used to the traditional stuff and I really like it that way, but a very good friend of mine goes to a born-again evangelical Christian church where the service is seems more like a concert at times than a spiritual service. I don't think that this is necessarily bad because it's all about the same thing, but it is definitely different. I talked a lot on my blog about how there are times for PowerPoint in every area of life, but it should not be used all of the time in these areas, so maybe a happy medium would be best.

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This page contains a single entry by published on February 10, 2010 3:04 PM.

Hieroglyphics to Holograms was the previous entry in this blog.

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