TCL5320EN - Issues and Methods in a Theology of Media & Communication

Course description

Analyzes theological perspectives on how God has spoken to and through mankind through word, deed, nature, and natural objects. Comparing and contrasting Biblical evidence, historical examples, communication theory, and missiological concerns, students develop both a theological awareness of communicative issues at stake in missional living and examine several strategies for communicating the Good News in a variety of contemporary contexts.

How this course benefits students

Communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the most central tasks of Christian ethics. However, contemporary societal and technological conditions mean that both the form and content of evangelical communication are more of a real question than ever before. To faithfully orient students in the dizzying process of continual change which recent human history has constituted, this class develops a nuanced awareness of themes of media and communication in scripture, theology, hermeneutics, and ethics. Students examine various theological approaches to communication ethics with a view to creating a workable communicative ethical approach for missional practice in their own context.

Why this course is important

Human life in the twenty-first century is integrally structured in and around networks and combinations of new communicative media. The question of how to witness to God in this new communicative context raises the larger question of how God communicates with us. This course considers both media and communication in conversation with biblical texts and contemporary voices, leading to awareness of the challenges and opportunities presented by various media for the communication of the Gospel, but also of how the challenge of communicating the Gospel interrogates contemporary communication practices. This course critically examines contemporary theological discourse on media and communication, highlighting paths to and contours of various theologies of communication.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

Central to this course is the examination of the various media taken up by God to reveal Himself to humans as presented in the Bible. Students exercise careful interpretation of numerous communicative biblical passages and demonstrate special hermeneutical attention to how various theologies of media and communication employ these texts to develop theological ethics of communication.

Missionally driven

The considerations of various media and questions of the form and content of communication are framed by the command to be God's witnesses which drives the missional posture of the Christian life.

Contextually informed

This course contextualizes a biblical theology of media by helping students reflect on how the communicative conditions of their own time and place change the form and content of lived and proclaimed witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Interculturally focused

By comparing and contrasting communicative conditions and choices in various historical eras and geographic areas, students gain a measured understanding of the particularities of their own context, of foreign contexts, and of the ways in which new communications media have created a postmodern transcultural 'context' which itself calls out for considered gospel proclamation.

Practically minded

This course develops students' aptitude to analyze and understand the way that their context and communication is affected by the media around them, facilitating increased awareness of the presence of God in their daily lives and a more nuanced ability to embody the Gospel in their own time and place. Additionally, students recognize various theological sources and stakes involved in creating a constructive biblical theology of media and communication.

Experientially transformed

Reflection on the "mediated-ness" of their daily lives in their own time and place leads students to greater awareness of their own implication in, formation by, and theological implications of media and communication, both in a general and theological sense.