The Medium is the Message

“Do not do what they do, for they do not practise what they preach.” Matthew 23:3

Some of us will remember Marshall McLuhan as the Canadian professor from the sixties who coined the term “the global village.” Yet MacLuhan gained recognition and became famous for another of his aphorisms, namely “the medium is the message”.

According to McLuhan, any chosen medium selected for the purposes of communication serves not only as a carrier for such communication, but actually determines the content of the communication. For instance, American Indians may communicate by using smoke signals, but they will never be able to discuss deep philosophy this way. The form of communication does not allow for the content.

This principle becomes especially relevant when we consider that Christians are called “living epistles” in the New Testament. We are, in other words, mediums or carriers of God’s communication. Taking McLuhan’s principle into consideration, we can safely assume that our message is determined not only by its content, but first and foremost by us, its preachers. Who we are and what we do will determine the effect our speech will have on our listeners.

Actions, therefore, speak much louder than words. I am reminded of Oscar Wilde who is rumoured to have said to someone: “Who you are speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you are saying.” Some of the saints have said: “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

The apostle Peter wrote along the same lines: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Let us be challenged to become not only hearers and proclaimers, but also doers of God’s word.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s