The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 (New International Reader’s Version)
Good evening Dear Readers. I hope you’re having a blessed Lenten Season; and that God is leading you to where He/She is calling you to.
Tonight’s post is a somewhat personal one to me. You know I am a photographer, and have been one for about 35 years. Like many of my age, I started shooting with film back when film was still popular. However in the interim, I’ve watched digital technology come on the scene and change the photographic landscape within less than 20 years. I too started using digital (and still do).
It was also during those “in the meantime and in-between times” we saw vinyl records (I still have mine) give way to CDs and then streaming music. We also saw printed media give way to Kindle® and other e-books. Within less than a generation, we saw “analog” media (film, printed matter, vinyl/tapes) give way to digital form.
However, we’re seeing a resurgence in analog media. In photography, film is making a comeback through a renewed interest by new photographers and encouraged by older ones. We see a renewed interest in vinyl albums as pressing vinyl once again is in vogue. Even publishing is seeing a resurgence in printed books and other media. Last week, I heard a podcast on The Art of Manliness website with author David Sax discussing his new book, The Revenge of Analog, which was a very interesting interview.
In my field of photography, we see countless online “film vs. digital” debates to fill the Library of Congress (I’ve given my two cents in a couple). As I read these debates, and listened to the above podcast, it dawned on me what was going on: we want tactility. We as human beings want something we can touch; something that can engage our five senses. With film, I can hold negatives and see my finished images burned on to them by light and chemical processes. When I listen to vinyl, I can hold a disc and enjoy the act of putting it on a turntable with needle to play; enjoying every crack and “imperfection”. With a book, I can hold it in my hand and feel the pages with my fingertips-feeling more connected with the writer. Plus, we can slow down and spend time with these: taking time to capture and develop a photograph; the process of playing a vinyl album; and the time to sit and slowly enjoy a book.
Tonight’s Scripture could have been taken out of our contemporary yearning for analog. John wrote about how God’s Wisdom became flesh-became “analog.” When this Word, Jesus was on Earth, we could touch him with our hands. We could hear his words through his breath on us. We could smell his odor after traveling all day on the hot and dusty roads. We can connect with him through his healing, his teaching, his eating with us, his living among us. God became analog for us. God slowed down time and space so that we and Jesus can fully engage each other. Even after the resurrection, when Jesus told Thomas to touch where the nails were in his flesh, we had a tactile…an analog experience.
Today it doesn’t matter what medium people use. The fact is that we need an analog experience-a God we can touch and hold. We don’t need the digitized sermon snippets or Scriptural “word bites” we see on social media. No, we need the “Word made flesh” in our age; a God we can hold onto and truly experience in our digital age. We need this experience not just for Lent, but for all times. And then we can share that experience with those who need it the most among us; and we can show the Word made flesh and know that he still dwells among us.
The Word made flesh for an analog Lent: works for me.
(BTW, both images above were taken by me October 20, 2016. The top image is the digital taken with my smartphone. The bottom is the analog taken with a Minolta Maxxum 7000 on Kodak Portra 800 film).