I'm at a conference at Willowcreek this week. Yesterday, Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales presented on how culture disciples our children. He quoted the 2006 Kaiser Report that notes the average child between the ages of 8 and 18 consumes six hours of media (tv, computer, DVD, video games, music, etc) a day. If you account for media-multi tasking, the number goes up to 8 hours a day.
The only thing the average child does more than entertain himself is to sleep.
Phil went on to discuss various strategies to engage our children. One strategy would be to create media that advanced a Christian world view. Phil noted an interesting problem: "Christians just aren't funny. We're genetically bred to boring but productive people." Phil noted that our religious heritage can be traced to the Swedes and the Germans, who were wonderfully productive people, but not known for their stand up comedy at the pot lucks. So here's the dilemma: Protestants genetically bred to be productive and we live in an age of entertainment.
Christians also tend to use TV and radio as amplification units for their pulpits. We don't tend to tell stories or entertain well. When we try, we tend to produce schlock like Left Behind (okay, that one is on me, not Phil).
I left the talk with some questions. Obviously, since we are immersed in our entertainment culture and Christians watch as much media, and often the same media, as our unchurched counter parts, we will eventually "get it." We will start producing more and more witty story tellers. We'll become capable of injecting the Christian story back into the canon of media. This is a good thing. But I wonder if we'll lose our prophetic voice. Will we lose our ability to tell people to unplug and live?