The Secular C.S. Lewis: Neil Postman’s Unlikely Influence on Evangelicals

By Arthur W. Hunt III

postman secular jew

He was basically a secular Jew, and I am basically a conservative Christian, but he taught me more than almost any Christian I can think of (C. S. Lewis?).

—Dr. T. David Gordon

Dr. Gordon’s comment, which appeared in an online post among other recollections of Neil Postman (Rosen, 2003), demonstrates how well the media theorist and educator who passed away in October 2003, is held in high regard by a selection of evangelical academics and scholars. To rank Postman up there with the author and apologist C. S. Lewis is no small matter for a Christian educator like Gordon who teaches Greek and Religion at Grove City College in western Pennsylvania. This is not to say that the entire evangelical community is familiar with Postman or would agree with the basic thrust of his writings, for evangelicalism is a big pond with an assortment of diverse fish, many paying no attention whatsoever to the water in which they swim. It would be more accurate to say that it is a particular kind of evangelical fish that likes to quote Postman—a reflective fish, a Reformed fish, a confessional fish, a fish out of water.

This article attempts to explain why certain evangelicals consider Postman, if not their favorite teacher, at least one of their favorite teachers, despite never having sat in a classroom with him or ever hearing of something called the New York School. First, a definition of evangelicalism is in order, coupled with a description of the sort of evangelical that affectionately leans upon Postman. Second, Postman’s philosophical outlook is compared and contrasted with these evangelicals to ascertain the intersecting lines of agreement relating to a critical assessment of American culture. Finally, some samples of evangelical scholarship that rely heavily on Postman’s work are reviewed.

What Is an Evangelical Anyway?

According to a Gallup survey, roughly 4 out of 10 Americans identify themselves as evangelical or born-again Christians (Tolson, 2003). Billy Graham, whose ministry began in the 1940s with citywide crusades, is often regarded as the elder statesman of modern American evangelicalism. But one must go back to the 1740s and the preaching of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield to understand the beginnings of a movement that shook both America and Great Britain. The Great Awakening was in essence a “restatement of the older Puritan teaching on the need for men first to be humbled if they are to be soundly converted” (Murray, 1987). “New-Lights” like Edwards claimed that true religion goes beyond human reason to touch the affections. Edwards believed a personal relationship with God wrought by a conversion experience was in keeping with the spirit of the Reformation as articulated by Martin Luther and John Calvin. University of Notre Dame historian Mark Noll (2001) says that from the beginning evangelicalism emphasized spiritual renewal over ecclesiastical formalism and made a popular appeal for living a “religion of the heart” (9). British historian David Bebbington identifies four common elements within evangelicalism: conversionism (an emphasis on the new birth as a life-changing experience), biblicism (recognizing the Bible as ultimate authority in religious matters), activism (the sharing of faith), and crucicentrism (a focus on the redeeming work of Christ as the sole way of salvation) (Noll, 2001).

Although the Great Awakening was felt in both Great Britain and its colonies, its subsequent repercussions in America have been multifaceted. While Edwards was a Congregationalist and Whitefield was an Anglican, revivalism in the nineteenth century found expression among the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Dutch and German Reformed, and some Episcopalians. Today many African American churches, independent congregations, and Pentecostal groups would classify themselves as evangelicals.

Interestingly, evangelicalism has both shaped the culture and been shaped by the culture. Noll (2001) says the movement has always been diverse, flexible, adaptable, and multiform. After the Great Awakening, American evangelicalism became more populist or individualistic in comparison with European Protestantism, which historically could be buttressed by the powers of the state. By contrast, American evangelicalism is sometimes “ambiguous in its appeals to authority and often relies on charismatic leaders or organizational geniuses who (with populist rhetoric) replace traditional autocracy with their own iron discipline” (Noll, 2001, 15). For example, the rise of fundamentalism in the 1920s was largely a leader-lead movement against elements of modernity perceived to be threatening to the faith (e.g. Darwinism and higher criticism of Scripture). Separated from the Northern mainline denominations from which they seceded, fundamentalists developed their own subcultures of colleges, missionary enterprises, and parachurch organizations. The downside of these separatist tendencies was further isolation from the culture evangelicals wanted to influence. During the 1930s many conservative evangelical groups grew faster than the general population, despite being almost invisible to cultural elites and gatekeepers (Noll, 2001).

Billy Graham is credited with preaching the gospel to a wide-as-possible audience, and in doing so he also sought to break down walls that separated fundamentalists and modernists. Neo-evangelicalism, as it came to be called in the 1950s and 1960s, attempted to revive the “fundamentals” of conservative evangelicalism, but with “a positive spirituality and an intellectual incisiveness that had become rare among militant fundamentalists” (Noll, 2001, p. 19). The founding of the magazine Christianity Today and a host of Christian publishing houses like Baker, Eerdmans, and Zondervan created outlets for Christians who wanted to encourage the faithful and at the same time engage the larger culture.

Noll claims the diversity that has always existed within North American evangelicalism has become more pronounced in recent decades. This diversity becomes even more apparent when looking at how the movement has attached itself to politics. Black evangelicals have tended to vote Democrat, and conservative White evangelicals have tended to vote Republican. While the elimination of prayer in the public schools in the 1960s and the subsequent legalizing of abortion in 1973 galvanized many conservative evangelicals to be more pro-active in their voting behavior, theological affiliation is not a hard determinate of political affiliation. President Reagan, who was ushered into the White House with the help of the religious right, belonged to a liberal church body (Presbyterian Church USA). Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, moderately liberal Democrats, both belong to a conservative church body—the Southern Baptist Convention.

Noll reports that with the decline of older, mainline Protestant churches, evangelicals worry less about theological liberalism and more about multiculturalism, postmodernism, and the general secularization of public life. Evangelicals do not always agree on how to best reach an increasingly relativistic culture that shops around for religion in the same way that it surfs for television programs. Because much of modern evangelicalism mirrors, often unconsciously, the same entrepreneurial, individualistic, and pragmatic values that shaped America, corporation-like mega-churches increasingly became the model for successful ministry. David F. Wells (1998) observes that these new churches sprang up like mushrooms across the American landscape.

Gone, very often are the familiar church buildings, and in their place are those that look more like low-slung corporate headquarters or country clubs. Inside, a cyclone of change has ripped out the crosses, the pews, the eighteenth-century hymns, the organs, the biblical discourses. In their place are contemporary songs, drums, cinema-grade seats, light discourses, professional singers, drama, and humor. (20)

Not all evangelicals are oblivious to how modernity is reshaping Old World Protestant sensibilities. There exists a small faction within the evangelical community that is deeply concerned about what they see as a capitulation of biblical truth to the priorities of mass culture. Among the disenchanted can be found Baptist, Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and independent churches. These evangelical malcontents tend to be both Reformed and confessional in outlook. By Reformed I mean adhering to a certain set of theological distinctives, specifically, the five points of Calvinism and the five “solas” of the Reformation . By confessional I mean adhering to confessional creeds as authoritative declarations of church belief and practice (e.g. the Westminster Confession of Faith).

Henceforth, I refer to these evangelicals as the Confessionalists. Like Postman, they are cultural conservatives who have come to realize that older social traditions should not be sacrificed on the altar of progress. They are more backward looking than forward, desiring to preserve what they see as the permanent things in the culture. Confessionalists are troubled with capitalism’s excesses, especially the Church’s harnessing of market techniques to procure converts. In this sense, they belong to neither the Protestant left, which devalues doctrinal certainty, nor to the Protestant right, which today is tempted to trivialize doctrinal certainty under a banner of relevance. Founded in 1994, The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has been at the forefront of criticizing the hyper-consumerism now prevalent within the evangelical community. The following statement is taken from the Alliance’s declaration of purpose:

In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God. . . . Rather than adapting Christian faith to satisfy the felt needs of consumers, we must proclaim the law as the only measure of true righteousness and the gospel as the only announcement of saving truth. (The Cambridge Declaration, 1996)

And this is where Postman enters the evangelical conversation. It is these Reformed, confessional, culture-conscious, and market-leery evangelicals who like to quote Postman. They do so for the simple reason that they agree with much of his assessment of American culture. Postman provides fodder for their critique for what they see as a ravishing of evangelical Christianity. They would give a hardy “Amen” to Postman’s claim that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion and that “[w]hen it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another religion altogether” (Postman, 1985, 121).

Jewish Enlightenment Media Critic and the Confessionalists

Of course Postman was not an evangelical, but a Jewish humanist. Gregory Reynolds (2001) ascribed to him the title, “Jewish Enlightenment Media Critic” (171). The title is helpful, not only because it summarizes Postman’s philosophical dispositions, but also because it serves as a basis to compare and contrast his ideas with the Confessionalists.

Postman’s analysis of culture was informed by a Jewish sensibility, the natural precursor of a Christian sensibility, especially in light of those theologies that view Christianity as a natural extension of Judaism. Many Christian traditions hold that the New Testament is a form of Jewish Midrashing of the Scriptures—that the New is a fulfillment of the Old.  Postman’s ideas are attractive to the Confessionalists because of his insistence that both the Jewish and Christian faiths are necessarily logocentric. Even before coming upon McLuhan’s now famous axiom, “the medium is the message,” Postman (1985) said his study of the Bible as a young man helped him to see how “forms of media favor particular kinds of content and therefore are capable of taking command of a culture” (8-9). He saw how Moses’ prohibition against graven images in the Old Testament as entirely intentional, designed to declare a God who was to exist in the Word and through the Word, “an unprecedented conception requiring the highest order of abstract thinking” (9). In a lively conversation with Camille Paglia, captured by Harper’s Magazine (“She wants her TV!” 1991), Postman explained why writing is necessary to conceptualize the nonvisible, nonmaterial God of the Old Testament:

Writing is the perfect medium because, unlike pictures or the oral tradition, the written word is a symbol system of a symbol system, twice removed from reality and perfect for describing a God who is also far removed from reality: a nonphysical, abstract divinity. Moses smartly chose the right communication strategy. With the Second Commandment [Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image], Moses was the first person who ever said, more or less, “Don’t watch TV; go do your homework.” (45)

This quote reveals Postman’s bias toward literacy and cultures that arise out of literacy  (Gencarelli, 2000) as well as his respect for Judaism as a viable religious narrative among the other major religions of the world. But Postman was also a defender of the Western Enlightenment philosophical tradition, an outlook that both resonates and at the same time clashes with the absolutism of most Confessionalists. Postman certainly cannot be classified as a biblical literalist, even when he discusses the Old Testament. Postman says Moses smartly chose the right medium. He ignores the notion that God might have chosen the right medium. (A more literal reading of the Scriptures would place Moses as the recipient of the law, rather than the originator, as stated in Exodus 31:18.) In this sense, Postman saw the Decalogue as a product of human culture rather than a product of Divine Revelation. This is Enlightenment thinking to which Postman was committed and which he articulates in his last book Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century (1999). Postman is best seen as a traditional humanist in the same strain of public philosophy as Allan Bloom, supporting the Western canon and casting a skeptical eye toward postmodern relativism.

Although traditional humanism would value the importance of major cultural institutions (home, government, and church), Confessionalists would see these institutions as divinely established. Nevertheless, Postman’s traditional humanism is more culturally conserving than progressive humanism, which tends to emphasize change. As Reynolds (2001) points out, Postman was a post-Kantian thinker who believed in the importance of having a coherent narrative to live one’s life. Whether the narrative is right or wrong in an absolute sense was not his concern. Any narrative was sufficient, so long as it led to a civil and sensible life. Marxism, Darwinism, Fascism, Inductive Science, and Technology with a capital T were exceptions, however, having proved themselves deficient in the last century (Postman, 1997). In The End of Education Postman (1995) offered five plausible narratives that students might hang their hats on—The Spaceship Earth (we have an obligation to be good stewards of the planet), The Fallen Angel (we should be creative skeptics toward dogmatism because of the errors humans have made in the past), The American Experiment (the nation’s experiment in democracy is a perpetual and fascinating hypothesis in which students must be prepared to participate), The Law of Diversity (human activity is by its very nature diverse and provides a rich set of standards civilized people can adhere), and The Word Weavers/The World Makers (language and the tools of language serve to create our worlds for good or ill). For Postman all these narratives are useful because they each inform the student what it is to be human, to be a responsible citizen, and what it means to be intelligent. One must remember these narratives come as close to a sense of transcendence as Postman could imagine within the context of public schooling.

Confessionalists would see this smorgasbord approach of narrative choosing as somewhat relativistic. But as a proponent of the Enlightenment, Postman valued keeping the question mark in all things rather than answering every query with absolute certainty. Most of the time, that is. He was not afraid to take the high moral ground at the 2000 Media Ecology Association Convention as its keynote speaker, ending his speech with this quip:

Let me conclude, then, by saying that as I understand the whole point of media ecology, it exists to further our insights into how we stand as human beings, how we are doing morally in the journey we are taking. There may be some of you who think of yourselves as media ecologists who disagree with what I have just said. If that is the case, you are wrong. (Postman, 2000, 12, italics added)

To use such language one has to believe in the terms better and worse, which the founder of the first graduate program in Media Ecology certainly did. Postman’s morality consisted in his beliefs in Jeffersonian democracy, self-evident truths, personal responsibility, free inquiry, clarity of thought, and the notion of civility—components of American-brand traditional humanism. Confessionalists would sympathize with these ideals since many of them believe American democracy grew out of the Reformation as much as it did the Enlightenment. Confessionalists realize that after the founding of the nation, Reformation and Enlightenment values split, one going the way of revivalism and the other going the way of naturalistic materialism as embodied in Postman’s science god. If Postman would have us return to the ethos of the eighteenth century, most Confessionalists would not (I believe) think this an entirely bad idea. After all, it was an era in which both Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Edwards thrived.

Postman did not wear his religion on his shirtsleeves, but he was keenly aware of the role religion played in shaping culture and its importance in giving meaning to our existence. He was a public philosopher who believed in public education and the permissibility of comparative religion in the classroom (see Postman, 1999). He also acknowledged the influence of religion on other media ecologists like Marshall McLuhan, Jacques Ellul, and Walter Ong. Postman once told Reynolds in a personal interview, “I am uncertain as to whether God has spoken, but I am going to live life as if God spoke, in part because if I don’t believe this, I will lose my way” (Reynolds, 2001, 172). He seems to laud traditional family values in Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century when he speaks of the “depressing” fact the “structure and authority of the family have been severely weakened as parents have lost control over the information environment of the young” (Postman, 1999, 128). And when he declares, “If parents wish to preserve childhood for their own children, they must conceive of parenting as an act of rebellion against culture” (Postman, 1999, 129), he sounds like a right-wing Christian evangelical if ever there was one.

Postman was a critic of contemporary American culture in Socratic fashion, an occupation that finds common ground with the intellectual ebullience of the Reformed tradition—a pursuit that encourages a certain dialectic of affirmation and negation towards culture, society, and the self.  Of course, anyone who persistently questions what hardly anyone else questions at all is a Socratic. In this sense, all the Reformers were Socratics because they questioned culturally-embedded norms that few others questioned. Luther and Calvin and Zwingli were trying to pull their worlds back to a biblical equilibrium, thermostatically. Likewise, when Postman barks that television is the first curriculum in the life of a child, he is in effect nailing his Theses on the door of the Castle Church at Technopolis. He is making us think about things we had not consciously thought about before: what we perceived to be normal in our environment. Postman is saying television is common, but it is not normal.

Some Confessional Evangelicals who Quote Postman

The following is a sample of evangelical scholarship that relies heavily on Postman’s work. The list, in alphabetical order, is representative rather than exhaustive. I have included the church affiliation of each writer along with his or her particular vocation. Each scholar fits the description of a Confessionalist—Reformed, creedal in faith profession, culture-conscious, and market-leery in regard to church practice.

Marva J. Dawn, Theologian, Musician, Educator (Lutheran)

Dawn is Teaching Fellow in Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her book, Reaching Out without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for Turn-of-the-Century Culture (1995), is a “why to” manual for Protestant liturgy amidst the heat surrounding the worship wars. Dawn did her dissertation at Notre Dame on the ideas of Jacques Ellul. She quotes Postman extensively, recognizing with him that religion has been recast in television’s terms. Rewriting Postman’s foreword in Amusing Ourselves to Death, Dawn says, “[W]hen the congregation becomes an audience and its worship a vaudeville act, then the Church finds itself at risk; the death of faith and Christian character is a clear possibility” (13). She mourns television’s assault on exposition in which the Church historically has been dependent for teaching doctrines and creeds. Dawn (1995) believes “television has habituated its watchers to a low information-action ratio, that people are accustomed to ‘learning’ good ideas (even from sermons) and then doing nothing about them” (21).

Noting Postman’s observation that television decontextualizes information, she asserts current trends in worship decontextualizes or muddles Christian doctrine. Function not only follows form in television, but also in worship as style is valued over substance and symbol drain in the culture at large makes religious symbols lose their significance. She would have Protestants think deeply about their liturgies and avoid making worship a matter of entertaining an audience. However, these warnings do not preclude worship that contains imagination, a sense of drama, and spiritual vitality.

Os Guinness, Writer and Speaker (Episcopalian in the Reformed Tradition)

Guinness is co-founder of the Trinity Forum, a seminar-style forum for senior executives and political leaders that engages the leading ideas of our day in the context of faith. Although the author of numerous books on topics ranging from vocation to what he sees as the over-valued status of relevance in contemporary culture, his most Postman-embracing work is Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think And What To Do About It (1994).

Guinness is appalled at the anti-intellectualism within American evangelicalism which manifests itself in such areas as a low regard to authority, tradition, liturgical worship, aesthetics, and a constructive public policy. A major chunk of the book falls under a section titled “An Idiot Culture” and includes these media ecology friendly chapters: “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” “All Consuming Images,” “The Humiliation of the Word,” and “Real, Reel, or Virtually Real?” Guinness claims Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death is probably “the best single introduction to the issue” of the influence of television on reading and thinking (76). He touches upon many of Postman’s claims about television—that we have shifted from the age of exposition to the age of entertainment, that all subject matter on television is presented as entertainment, that television discourse has a bias against understanding because it is fast-paced and fragmented, that it has a bias against responsibility because it prevents the viewer from engaging with the consequences of what is experienced, that it has a bias against memory and history because of its preoccupation with the here and now, and that it has a bias against truth and accuracy because it turns credibility into plausibility and performance. Guinness (1994) holds that these biases have dramatically affected Protestant evangelicalism:

So evangelicals have followed suit [accepting visual culture unquestioningly] and abandoned their Reformed heritage. At the highest levels this shift has opened the door to the more pictorial theology of Eastern Orthodoxy. At the lower levels it has welcomed in trash and what is worse—idolatry. (99)

Kenneth Myers, Radio Host (Episcopalian in the Reformed Tradition)

Myers is host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal, a bimonthly audio magazine that examines issues in contemporary culture from a framework shaped by Christian conviction. In Myers (1989) book, All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians & Popular Culture, he explores the origins, functions, and influences of popular culture on Americans in general and Christians in particular. He relies most heavily on Postman in a chapter entitled “Popular Culture’s Medium: The Entertainment Appliance.”

Myers says television is an “assumed medium” that no one complains about any longer (159). As proof, he says no leading educator seems willing to endorse the arguments of Postman or that of Jerry Mander (Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television) or Marie Winn (The Plug-In Drug) (159). “Television is . . . not simply the dominant medium of popular culture,” says Myers. “It is the single most significant shared reality in our entire society” (160). Myers shares Postman’s assessment of television when he says images are insufficient to communicate abstraction and analysis and therefore fight against the distinction between truth and falsehood. Television discourages reflection, erodes our sense of important social spaces, and distorts our sense of time (Myers, 1989). The problem would not be as complicated for the Church as it is, but evangelicals have embraced many of the forms of popular culture to promote its message. Myers suggests that Christians can enjoy popular culture so long as they are not “dominated by the sensibility of popular culture” which is the same as being “captivated by its idols” (180). Parents, teachers, and church leaders can do much for those under their care in establishing a cultural sensibility that is more reflective and discerning.

Gene Edward Veith, Provost, Patrick Henry College (Lutheran)

Veith, Provost of Patrick Henry College and Director of the Cranch Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, quoted Postman extensively in his books addressing the problems associated with postmodernism. In Reading Between the Lines: Christian Guide to Literature Veith (1990) refers to Postman as one of the “most astute social critics of our time” (20). The first chapter of the book, “The Word and the Image: The Importance of Reading,” introduces a basic media ecology presupposition—that different forms of communication shape people’s thinking and ultimately the culture. As with the Jewish faith, reading is essential to Christianity because it is a religion centered on a Book (the Greek word for Bible is “the Book”). Veith says Christians derive their conversation with God from this Book: “In the Bible, God reveals His relationship to us, setting forth the law by which we should live and the gospel of forgiveness through Christ. As we read the Bible, God addresses us in the most intimate way, as one person speaking to another” (18). Veith reiterates one of Postman’s most acute questions about image culture: “Can democratic institutions survive without literacy if they arose out of literacy?” Veith summarizes Postman’s concern that an image culture bears the consequences of losing a sense of authority and history, can be hostile to rationality, and is prone to pleasure-centeredness.

Some of these same themes are echoed in another book by Veith (1994), Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, a work that received a Christianity Today book award. Veith traces the intellectual, historical, and technological roots of postmodernism, contrasting it with modernity. Veith says that although electronic media are the product of modernist rationalism, it ironically assaults the rationalism of modernism. Relying heavily on Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology, Veith notes that emerging information technologies, and those who control them, form a new socio-political order. In this sense, Veith agrees with Postman that technology is often at odds with tradition. Specifically, electronic media erodes high culture and makes the profane common place.

One of the more interesting pieces of scholarship produced by Veith (1993) is Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview. The primary thesis of the book suggests that the replacement of rational debate with media manipulation, the subordination of logic to emotionalism, and the trivialization of politics–all tenets of our popular culture–form a fertile breeding ground for new forms of fascism. Veith points out that fascism has stood in opposition to the Judeo-Christian worldview because of its rejection of a transcendent God and His moral law. For example, Nazism under Hitler sought to recapture the mythological consciousness of the old pagan order via divine king, sacred community, communion with nature, and the sacrifice of blood. Veith’s concern is that when transcendent values are excluded from a culture, politics can become reduced to sheer “will to power.” And if there are no absolutes, no basis for moral persuasion or rational argument, then power becomes arbitrary, allowing the side with the biggest propaganda machine and the dirtiest tactics to win. In Modern Facism Veith relies on Postman to show how electronic media, particularly television, has eroded linear logic, sustained inquiry, tradition, and deferred gratification.

Conclusion

Confessionalists see the burgeoning image culture as a threat to their word-based heritage. Not all evangelicals recognize the societal repercussions of electronic media because many of them operate under a paradigm of pragmatism. Evangelicals attach their efforts to build the Kingdom with the same market values that dominate consumer culture, hoping to be as successful. Those evangelicals who do recognize the dangers see themselves as taking up the mantles of Luther and Calvin in decrying idolatry—worshipping the creature over the Creator. Postman is entirely handy for the Confessionalist because he knew a golden calf when he saw one.

Works Cited

The Cambridge declaration. (1996). The alliance of confessing evangelicals. Retrieved September 2, 2004, from http://www.alliancenet.org/cc/article/0,,PTID307086_CHID771654_CIID1411364,00.html

Dawn, M.J. (1995). Reaching out without dumbing down: A theology of worship for the turn-of-the-century culture. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans.

Gencarelli, T. (2000). The intellectual roots of media ecology in the work and thought of Neil Postman. The New Jersey Journal of Communication, 8(1), 91-103.

Guinness, O. (1994). Fit bodies, fat minds: Why evangelicals don’t think and what to do about it. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Murray, I. (1987). Jonathan Edwards: A new biography. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust.

Myers, K. (1989). All god’s children and blue suede shoes: Christians & popular culture. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

Noll, M. (2001). American evangelicalism: An introduction. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Postman, N. (1985). Amusing ourselves to death: Public discourse in the age of show business. New York: Penguin Books.

Postman, N. (1995). The end of education: Redefining the value of school. New York: Vintage Books.

Postman, N. (1997, January). Science and the story that we need. First Things, pp. 29-32.

Postman, N. (1999). Building a bridge to the eighteenth century: How the past can improve our future. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Postman, N. (2000). The humanism of media ecology. Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association: Volume 1. New York: Fordham University.

Reynolds, G. (2001). The word is worth a thousand pictures: Preaching in the electronic age. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

Rosen, J. (2003, October 7). Neil Postman (1931-2003): Some recollections. PRESSthink: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine [weblog]. Retrieved August 1, 2004, from http://archive.pressthink.org/2003/10/07/postman_life.html.

She wants her TV! He wants his book. (1991, March). Harper’s Magazine, 282, 44-51, 54-55.

Tolson, J. (2003, December 8). The new old-time religion. U.S. News & World Report, 135, 36-44.

Veith, G.E. (1990). Reading between the lines: A Christian guide to literature. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Veith, G.E. (1993). Modern fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian worldview. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

Veith, G.E. (1994). Postmodern times: A Christian guide to contemporary thought and culture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Wells, D.F. (1998). Introduction: the word in the world. In J.H. Armstrong (general Ed.), The compromised church (pp. 19-34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

This article first appeared in Explorations in Media Ecology: The Journal of the Media Ecology Association, 5(1), 2006, 61-72. (Hampton Press)