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Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith [Hardcover]

By Shane Hipps (Author)
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Item description for Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith by Shane Hipps...

?The methods change, but the message stays the same.? This saying is the guiding light for faithful Christians in a changing world. But author Shane Hipps reveals the error in this thinking. Instead he demonstrates how changing the methods always changes the message. He shows us the hidden power of technology to shape our faith in unexpected ways.

Publishers Description
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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith by Shane Hipps has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christianity Today - 05/01/2009 page 64
  • Christian Retailing - 02/09/2009 page 11

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   198
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Feb 3, 2009
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310293219  
ISBN13  9780310293217  
UPC  025986293215  

Availability  0 units.

More About Shane Hipps

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Shane Hipps is the former lead teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. Previously he served for five years as the lead pastor of a Mennonite church in Phoenix, AZ. He is a graduate of Fuller Seminary, the result of a self-termed "Damascus" experience. Before accepting his call as a pastor, he was a strategic planner in advertising for the multimillion dollar communications plan for Porsche. It was here that he gained expertise in understanding media and culture.
Hipps is a sought-after speaker and author of Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith, and The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, The Gospel, and Church. Find videos, podcasts, downloadable resources and more at, or follow him on Twitter @shanehipps.

Shane Hipps was born in 1956.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Flickering Pixels?

Most of it is really inspired  Apr 8, 2010
In Flickering Pixels, How Technology Shapes Your Faith, Shane Hipps tells us that the medium is the message, and that this applies to media that communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here's the story according to Hipps:

There have been three eras in time:
* Pre-modernity
* Modernity
* Post modernity

The change between these eras was driven by introduction of technologies:
* The shift from pre-modernity to modernity was driven by printing press
* The shift from modernity to post-modernity was driven by the telegraph, ability to transmit images, and new electronic communications of the 1850s
* The Gospels are mostly story based. Paul's letters are mostly linear, and sequential. The Gospels are more right-brained, while Paul's letters are more left brained.

The early church (pre reformation) was mostly right brain (stories from the Bible were relayed from person to person). The early church was also mostly focused on Jesus because it relayed stories of Jesus and parables told by Jesus. The post reformation church is mostly left brain driven mostly because of the introduction of literature as the media of communication. Post reformation church has mostly focused on the linear and logically based letters of Paul and the Gospel of John.

There is a shift currently happening, from left brain to right brain. New technology allows far more efficient transmission of media other than phonetic writing. This is bringing back an emphasis on image driven communication rather than print driven communication, which is more in tune with gospel / Jesus / story / right brain based church rather than apostolic letter / Paul / doctrine based church.

This all implies that new technologies used to communicate a message alter the message itself. You cannot change the method of delivery of the message without changing the message. Thus, the medium is the message, and this has implications on how we read scripture and how we share the Gospel.
So, if that's the story, do I believe it? I do. Here's why:

Hipps is a pastor, and an ex-marketing man, which gives him some credibility with me. I've also spent time with young people who are seeking authentic Christianity, and they seem to pose questions that are similar to those posed by Hipps when he denegrades modernity.

HOWEVER, I really can't cope with him putting down the gospel as presented by Bill Bright and the truth about Christianity as presented by Josh McDowell. It's really trendy in emergent church circles to blast such people, and it's unjustified. Hipps repeatedly quotes the scriptures as Truth, yet, without understanding why we can do that (aka McDowell) Hipps has no authority to do this. This is the problem with post-modern thinking as applied to Christianity - it blows the very faith out of the water that they claim to represent in an, oh-so-more-relevent-than-though way). He also puts down Bill Bright's 4 Spiritual Laws, without putting it in the context that Bright taught the 4 Spiritual Laws as a way to show people how to have a changed life, and live authentic Christ like lifestyle - exactly as emergent leaders keep saying we should.

Half the truth is really dangerous. I think that Hipps has explained how new media affect how new seekers look for answers in different ways that we might have done 40 years ago, and I applaud that. But, it's just as damaging to throw the Truth of the Bible out of the window today as it might have been for the left brain thinkers of modernity to ignore the Experience of Christ. Neither McDowell nor Bright did that, as would anyone who really knows them appreciates.
The medium slightly flavours the message  Feb 11, 2010
Marshall McLuhan's book "Understanding Media", published in 1964, gave rise to the aphorism, "The medium is the message." It is an aphorism which still holds true in the present media culture of the Internet and social networking, according to reformed ex-advertising guru Shane Hipps in this short book. He says that the flickering pixels on our televisions, cell phones and computers alter our lives and shape our faith without our permission or knowledge.

The introduction of the technologies of writing and reading led to a reduction in people's memory capacity. The widespread introduction of printed books caused people to start thinking in a linear and efficient manner, and this changed the gospel message into a linear formula, while at the same time causing faith to become more individualistic and less communal. Images make us feel rather than think, and so the current age of electronic video and images reduces our capacity for abstract thought while increasing our appreciation of intuition and emotion.

The book is presented in conventional printed manner with only a few pictures, so presumably the author wants us to exercise our abstract thinking capacities rather than our intuition and emotion in processing his ideas. Some interesting ideas are raised, but I am not thoroughly convinced that the technologies we use end up using us. I am more inclined to believe that the medium slightly flavours the message.
Good premises-- short on meaningful conclusions  Feb 10, 2010
Wariness with regard to the media is what this book is all about for me. I thought the early parts of the book were helpful and challenging. I wished for both a deeper conclusion and a practical one. But over all I will recommend this to friends.
amazing!  Nov 21, 2009
Every christian should read this book...Shane Hipps has nailed "why things are the way they are.".
Excellent book club material.  Oct 26, 2009
Hipps does a fair job of discussing the diverse ways that technology not only shapes the WAY we communicate the message of the Gospel, but how it actually changes the message itself. We've been using this book in a weekly book discussion group for about a month now, and it's provided a really good jumpstart to some good conversations. Of particular interest is the way he provides specific examples of how technology, from the printing press to text messaging, have influenced the way we collectively think about our faith.

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