Tuesday, May 18, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps

Title: Flickering Pixels
Author: Shane Hipps
Publisher: Zondervan
Year: 2009

Shane Hipps is currently a Teaching Pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church and holds a Master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. Hipps was formerly a strategic planner in advertising and worked for several years on the communications strategy for Porsche Cars North America. Experience in advertising contributed to Hipps' understanding of the media/culture relationship and resulted in the writing of two books on the topic. The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture (2006) is aimed at people in church leadership. Flickering Pixels (2009) "appl[ies] insights about media and technology to some of the basic issues of ... faith and life."

Hipps states that "Christianity is fundamentally a communication event" and with this focus he goes on to explore the hidden power of media and technology and its influence on the communication of God's message. By claiming that the medium is indeed the message, Hipps challenges the idea that the methods change but the message stays the same. Method affects the message, thereby allowing media and technology to subtly (or not so subtly) shape us and our faith.

Hipps does not present the reader with a moral judgment of media and technology, but does point out that we should think about these ever present influences on our lives. Media and technology might inevitably affect us, but the outcome of that influence does not have to be inevitable. By having an "intentional relationship to our technologies," by studying and understanding them, we minimize their power over us.

Those persons with an interest in the religious aspects of media and technology, as well as those libraries that support curriculum in these areas, would find this book to be a welcome addition to the collection. End notes and a list of resources round out the academic usefulness of Flickering Pixels.

Publication of review forthcoming in The Christian Librarian.
Book received for review courtesy of the publisher, Zondervan.


  1. I agree with this statement: By having an "intentional relationship to our technologies," by studying and understanding them, we minimize their power over us.

    As in so many other things in life, by studying them and understanding them, they are not so overwhelming anymore too.

  2. This is not the sort of book I would ordinarily read, but your review made it sound so interesting I'm compelled to hunt it down over here.

  3. This sounds like an interesting take on the subject. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Terri!