The Spectacle of Worship in a Wired World

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by Tex Sample

Although other books discuss how to involve multi-media elements in worship, The Spectacle of Worship in a Wired World is the first to explore how electric culture shapes people's perceptions and expectations of what worship is. The new electronic culture, explains Tex Sample, is a culture that involves fundamentally different ways of experiencing and knowing the world. It is also a culture that holds tremendous challenges for all areas of the life of the church, none more so than its worship. Sample points out that if we hope to reach the generations that have grown up with television and other electronic media as daily parts of their lives, we must understand what electronic culture is, and begin to think about how the church's worship can learn from it and adapt to it. Examining the three central elements of electronic culture - images, sound as beat, and visualization - Sample demonstrates that meaning arises for those steeped in this culture from the convergence of these elements, rather than from any one of them individually. He goes on to discuss how these are already present in Christian worship, and how they might be made more evident. In addition, he explains that worship can serve as a corrective and critique of electronic culture, and concludes the book with suggestions for how to build worship around an awareness of this new kind of culture.