In the wake of YouTube viral sensation Jefferson Bethke’s “I love Jesus but hate religion” video, NPR reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports on the impact of digital stories — particularly music videos — in religious contexts. An excerpt from her story:
No matter what you think of Mitchell’s interpretation of Christianity, one thing is clear. Internet videos are changing Christianity, says David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group.
Kinnaman has surveyed young Christians extensively, and he notes that creating videos is as natural as breathing for young people. So forget about seminary: YouTube allows a martial arts teacher like Mitchell or a recent college graduate like Jefferson Bethke to broadcast their interpretation of Christianity to the world.
“Anyone could be a theologian as long as you’re persuasive, able to create a great Internet video, and the luck of the draw that your video gets selected out of the thousands that are uploaded,” Kinnaman says.
If creating videos is as natural as breathing — which I’m not yet convinced is true — we can enter into that practice in faith formation, and draw people into deeper reflection and engagement with their faith.