Media’s place in our lives goes beyond the “Star Wars” prayer we tried a few months ago. In our ever-connected culture, we spend a lot of time consuming various media. Since it has so much influence, even in daily conversation, we ought to take some time to intentionally analyze what we watch rather than merely consume it.
We can find meaning in the stories from popular culture. Sometimes we even feel the Spirit of God move in and among us as a result of a story we saw portrayed in TV or movies. Within any story there is an embedded theology — that is, a way of speaking about “ultimate concern.” Faith shows up — in some form — in almost every film or television story. Maybe not faith in God, but faith in someone or something. That’s what we’ll explore here.
In this exercise, any film or television story will suffice. The goal is to seek out and answer the question, “Where is the faith?” As you use this exercise repeatedly, you will begin to see how theology is woven into all stories.
We all have faith in something. It’s important to understand that and then be intentional about where we place our faith.
Intention: To ponder where the faith is in any given visual text
The Exercise: Faith In Media
- Choose any film, television or video story. Have it ready to watch.
- Begin with a breath prayer using the phrase, “My faith is in you, O God (or Christ or Spirit).” On the inhalation silently say the first part of the phrase and on the exhalation say the name you have chosen for God. Do this for at least 5 minutes.
- Watch your chosen visual text. Focus on one specific character, looking for what this character is putting his or her faith in.
- Where does this character’s faith reside? In what does he or she ultimately trust? How do you know that?
- What do you think the writer or producer is trying to say about the world through this character’s faith?
- Compare where this character’s faith resides with where you place your faith.
- What is God revealing to you about faith in the viewing of this story?
- End with the same breath prayer that you began the exercise with, “My faith is in you, O God.”
Place a “post-it” note on your television set with the question, “Where is the faith?” This will remind you to reflect on this question repeatedly.
During prime-time one week, watch several of the most popular television shows with the question “where is the faith” in mind. Notice what or who many of the characters place their faith in.
Looking for More?
If you like this prayer and are looking for even more ways to pray, you might enjoy my book, “50 Ways to Pray,” from Abingdon Press. You’ll find this prayer and 49 others to experiment with.
Want to try spiritual direction? I have openings in my schedule for new directees — regardless of where you live. I can work by phone, Skype or if you live in the Phoenix metro area we can meet in person. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.teresablythe.net.
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