A View From the Trenches

A View From the Trenches

Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, spoke with Holiness Today regarding various aspects of media and culture. He is a member of Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene.

HT: Can the Christian community engage in the world of secular media when, historically, many Christians have been somewhat fearful of what that represents?

Moore: By "secular media" I assume you mean such things as television and film. Many committed Christians work in these industries. I wish more did. We not only can engage, we should engage. These are pervasive and extremely powerful influences in our culture, and Christians should be helping to shape them constructively.

HT: You used the phrase "extremely powerful influences." Would you expand on that?

Moore: Two things come to mind: the power of narrative or story and the power of technology. First, story has power. That's been true through the centuries. Literature, visual art, and music have always used the power of story to focus thought, to influence, and to inspire.

The Bible uses story throughout the Old and New Testaments to help us learn about God and His purpose for us. Jesus himself employed the power of storytelling, often using parables, to communicate truth to His listeners. Messages can be powerfully and memorably conveyed through story.

Second, only recently in human history-in the brief span of three or four generations-have the technologies of motion pictures, radio, television, and emerging new media multiplied both the reach and the power of storytelling far beyond anything that existed previously.

By multiplied reach, I mean vastly increased breadth of exposure. For example, 53 years ago when television was still quite new, Shakespeare's Hamlet was broadcast for the first time on U.S. television-on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. More people saw Hamlet performed in that single broadcast than had seen the play in all of its previous performances in the 350 years since it had been written.

Just think how the reach of television has continued to grow around the world since then. By multiplied power, I mean the ability to create or recreate stories with tremendous visual and aural impact. Television and film audiences can be transported in time and space to see, hear, and even feel characters and environments that make stories come alive. To entertain-Yes. But also to educate, influence, and to inspire.

In the so-called secular media, this combination of story and technology can be used in wholesome, edifying ways.

Of course, the Church can also use the same combination to help convey a specifically gospel-oriented message.

Holiness Today, May/June 2006