How to Thrive in a World of Competing Spectacles

How to Thrive in a World of Competing Spectacles by Collin Huber for The Gospel Coalition

How do Christians thrive spiritually in a visually driven media culture? The irony of this question isn’t lost on me. As you begin reading this review, your attention is being sought after as you interact with the screen. Other outlets are competing to draw you in. You might be receiving dings, alerts, and notifications. And like it or not, you and I are shaped by the diet of our attention. We become whatever spectacle we love most, argues Tony Reinke—communications director for Desiring God—in his new book, Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age.

Competing Spectacles reads more like a concise instruction manual than a full-length book, with each of its 33 chapters rarely surpassing more than five pages. Divided into two parts, the first defines the concept of a “spectacle” as well as the various distractions they pose to Christians. Part two casts Christ as the true spectacle all humanity longs for, concluding with a number of points of application.

Understanding Spectacles

A spectacle is any kind of projection that grabs human attention. And while spectacles exist outside the virtual world, Reinke largely focuses his treatment on digital media. Perhaps more than any other time in history, images invite us into alternate forms of reality that, as Reinke puts it, make the real world optional. So, it’s not the technology itself that distracts, but the spectacles they portray.

Now is your chance to support Gospel News Network.

We love helping others and believe that’s one of the reasons we are chosen as Ambassadors of the Kingdom, to serve God’s children. We look to the Greatest Commandment as our Powering force.

Personal Info

Donation Total: $100.00

Several sections of Competing Spectacles cover various forms of media—television, gaming, social media—and the ways they shape how we view ourselves and the world around us. Their effects are readily apparent on a daily basis. Our political views filter through whichever news outlet we choose to consume. Our posture toward our bodies and sex are shaded by the lascivious programming we either consume or avoid. None of these spectacles is neutral. Each bears the potential to lead us down dangerous or edifying paths.

The strength of Reinke’s argument comes from his anthropological grounding. Our spectacle seeking, he contends, exists because we’re made in God’s image. We’re hardwired to long for glory. But all created spectacles fall short of the glory we seek. The only solution to this shortcoming is to make the cross of Christ our greatest spectacle. Through it we’re invited into the glory found in belonging to God.

Continue Reading / The Gospel Coalition >>>

Related posts