Series to examine impact of electronic media on the church

Because a growing number of church members and lay and religious leaders are interested in how today's church can deal with the widespread impact of electronic media and technology, students at the School of Theology have organized a five-part "Forum Series on Electronic Media and the Mainline Church." Admission to the forums is free.

"The forums are designed to critique conventional and secular uses of electronic mass media and consider new possibilities for understanding and proclaiming the Gospel in electronic culture," said series coordinator Michael Boomershine. The forums will be offered Feb. 7, Feb. 28, March 22, April 10 and April 17. All forums will be held at the theology school in 311 Bishops Hall at 11 a.m. and will be followed by an informal brown bag lunch in Brooks Commons, Cannon Chapel. Topics and speakers are as follows:

* Feb. 7--"Media Literacy: Knowledge and Power in Electronic Culture." Speaker Elizabeth Thoman, director of the Center for Media Literacy, will use video and other media in an interactive presentation designed to introduce core concepts of media literacy. The Center for Media Literacy is the primary source for media literacy materials in the United States, focusing on issues such as violence in the media, television advertising, media and gender, television news and public affairs, and media and children. Thoman also will offer a workshop, with limited space, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on introducing media literacy in local churches. For workshop reservations, call Michael Boomershine at 377-5816.

* Feb. 28--"Imitators or Creators?: Some Religious Reflections on Black Filmmakers and Actors." Riggins Earl, professor of ethics and society at Interdenominational Theological Center, will consider questions including: Can black filmmakers create a new image of black America without imitating white filmmaker's racist stereotypes? In what sense have black filmmakers themselves become the cultural gods of black America? How have black filmmakers reflected the religious and moral values of their society?

* March 22--"The Gospel and Narrative in Electronic Culture." Thomas Boomershine, professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary, will discuss how the Bible can be understood, interpreted and translated in an electronic culture. Boomershine will examine how historical changes in technology have affected the form and content of the Gospel and what challenges confront the idea of a "new media" Bible.

* April 10--"What Can Be Done? A Media Professional Discusses Challenges and Possibilities." Gary Rowe, executive vice president for educational services at Turner Broadcasting Inc., will explain why constructive participation in electronic culture is essential to the future of the mainline church. Rowe also will discuss significant challenges in electronic culture facing the church and look at some immediate possibilities for using electronic media in the ministry of the local church.

* April 17--"Transformations of Religious Communication in an Electronic Culture." Gregor Goethals, author of The Electronic Golden Calf and The TV Ritual, will look at the transformation of religious communication that has occurred in both the secular and the religious communities. Goethals will then consider options developed by the American Bible Society's multimedia translations program, which has produced three interactive CD-ROM programs titled "Out of the Tombs," "The Visit" and "A Father and Two Sons."

For more information, call Michael Boomershine at 377-5816.

-- Elaine Justice

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