When we came to see that the conversation in America was coming to an end, we just thought you were going to become more and more like Chinese society.
And that means we can continue to win against you without fighting, because your free republic will continue to move towards the museum. Or graveyard.
But then we came to see the possibility that despite the direction you have been heading, your God may want you Christians in America to try and make an effort to reopen the conversation.
And as you’ll see, it appears there may be multiple reasons why your God wants you to try to reopen the conversation in America. But there was one in particular which has caught our attention. So, now let me tell you how Paula helped open our eyes to it.
One night as I lay in bed thinking about Shih Tzu, I was so discouraged. What if he was going to suddenly make a move against me?
I also pondered Paula. If Shih Tzu took me down, would I ever see her again?
And then, just before I finally felt tired enough to dodge the insomnia, Paula called.
“Comrade Chow, I am worried about you,” she said. “Are you alright?”
“I am now,” I responded.
“That’s good,” she said, “because I think we can turn the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal in our favor. We can help the Central Military Committee see it’s the key indicator for whether the American Christians will continue to collapse and then board their Benedict Option arks, or whether they will not give up.”
“Can you explain that?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said.
I always love it when I hear her say yes. It touches my dream. I can see the ring.
“Here is what I’m thinking,” she continued. “If Christianity is the story we are in, one of the key questions in the unfolding drama of the American Christians is this: Does their God want them to try to reopen the conversation in America?”
“Go on,” I replied. “You are touching on that important question Donald Trump shined the spotlight on — what does their God want them to want?”
“Well,” Paula said, “I think it’s possible he might want them to try — if Christianity is the story we are in, of course, Comrade. Here is what one of their famous apologists wrote,” and she read the following to me…
When we as Christians treat people with unfairness by not caring enough to share God’s message with them, no one is more disappointed or objects more strongly than God Himself.Ravia Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods
Then she asked, “And is this guy right or not?” and read this aloud…
We need to think things through. Jesus himself was open to all comers. He told his followers to love God with their minds as well as every other part of themselves. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by proper inquiry.
And then this…
The story of creation and redemption is the world’s story, properly understood. Telling the world’s story as that kind of story, and thus bringing the world to conversion, was the greatest service the Church could do for the world.
“And if they reopened the conversation in America, wouldn’t that fit with pursuing their Great Commission?” she asked.
And then she read me this passage from your New Testament…
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So, as our team came to see that, if Christianity is the story we are in, your God is on a Quest which involves a rescue operation of your fellow image bearers, it caught our attention that he has commanded you to participate with him in that rescue operation.
But we also came to see that participating in that rescue operation is not something most of you Christians in America really want to do.
Here is one clue Paula showed us…
A growing number of Christians don’t see sharing the good news as a personal responsibility. Just 10 percent of Christians in 1993 who had shared about their faith agreed with the statement “converting people to Christianity is the job of the local church”—as opposed to the job of an individual (i.e., themselves). Twenty-five years later, three in 10 Christians who have had a conversation about faith say evangelism is the local church’s responsibility (29%), a nearly threefold increase. This jump could be the result of many factors, including poor ecclesiology (believing “the local church” is somehow separate from the people who are a part of it) or personal and cultural barriers to sharing faith. Yet the most dramatic divergence over time is on the statement, “Every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith.” In 1993, nine out of 10 Christians who had shared their faith agreed (89%). Today, just two-thirds say so (64%)—a 25-point drop.
And Paula is wondering if this verse is in play for you Christians in America…
The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
And if you push that possibility away, it would be so encouraging to us.
Because we are concerned that, if Christianity is the story we are in, then your God is the Active Protagonist who is putting unexpected things in play…
John Paul II’s personal answer to the question of how his
papacy, and indeed his life, should be understood came in Portugal, at the
shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, on May12 and 13, 1982. He had gone there on
pilgrimage on the first anniversary of Mehmet Ali Agca’s assassination attempt,
to give thanks to God and to Mary for his life having been spared. Arriving in
Fatima, the Pope succinctly summarized his view of life, history, and his own mission
in one pregnant phrase: “in the designs
of Providence there are no mere coincidences.”
The assassination attempt itself, the fact that it took place on the date of the first Marian apparition at Fatima, the reasons it took place, his survival, none of this was an accident, just as the other incidents of his life, including his election to the papacy, had not been accidents. And this, he believed, was true of everyone. The world, including the world of politics, was caught up in the drama of God’s saving purposes in history. That, to his mind, was the message the Second Vatican Council wanted to take to a modern world frightened by what seemed to be the purposelessness of life. The Church’s primary task was to tell the world the story of its redemption, whose effects were working themselves out, hour by hour, in billions of lives in which there were no “mere coincidences.”
George Weigel, Witness to Hope
Of course, due to your anger against your opponents in America, you may not even want to reopen the conversation.
But – when you look through the lens of story, you come to see that in America’s story war, only you Christians are under obligation to try and reopen the conversation.
A cosmos in which personhood emerges only as an oddity and as an accident cannot sustain as its primary value an agenda of man’s objective duties to nature or to his fellow beings. The consistent implication of naturalism is that man does not matter and that nature has no special place for personality.
now, let me begin to tell about what our team came to see. With Paula’s
insights, of course. Without her, we would be lost.
Do You Have a Nineveh Option?
One night, as Paula lay in bed, unable to sleep because of a threat I had received from Shih Tzu, she was tempted to pray.
She remembered that during her time as a spy in Hollywood she had been approached by a fellow actress who asked if she could pray for her. And in the conversation which followed, the actress explained her involvement with a group called The Hollywood Prayer Network.
So, Paula got out of bed and Googled it. And this caught her attention…
In July of 2001, TV producer, Karen Covell, birthed the Hollywood Prayer Network (HPN), because she believed that Hollywood was not “Sodom and Gomorrah” but “Nineveh” – it can be redeemed. HPN is a grass roots prayer ministry led by Hollywood professionals who seek to impact our culture through prayer. Over the years HPN has seen attempts to “change” Hollywood fail because content won’t change until lives change. HPN believes God is the only one who can change the lives and hearts of the decision makers, creative community, and power players in Hollywood and He will do that if His followers humble themselves and pray.
Our goal is to invite God to free the hearts and minds of media professionals by mobilizing global prayer for the world’s most influential mission field: The Entertainment Industry.
And then, a couple of hours later, Paula called again.
“I hope I’m not calling too late, Comrade Chow,” she said.
“You never are,” I replied.
“Well, I would like to tell you about some things I’ve been thinking about,”
“My joy,” I said. “Please do.”
So, she told me the story about the birth of the Hollywood Prayer Network and how it was making her wonder if you Christians in America really do have what she began to call “a Nineveh Option.”
Look at this third chapter of the book of the prophet Jonah, which she texted me…
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Then she sent me some of what else she had found…
While God warned that He intended to judge those who had violated His standards, He had not decreed their demise. When Moses and Amos interceded for sinful Israel, God changed His mind and decided not to judge His people (Exod. 32:12–14; Amos 7:1–6). When the Ninevites repented, God changed His mind and did not judge them as He had threatened (Jon. 3:4–10). This willingness to change His mind is an aspect of divine mercy, which He typically extends toward sinners (Jer. 18:5–10; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2).
A decisive matter concerns what exactly God wants out of divine signs, including the humanly personified signs of Jonah and Jesus. The case of Jonah illustrates that at a minimum God aims to reveal that God is “gracious … and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Jon. 4:2). In accordance with this aim, God employs Jonah to call the people of Nineveh to repentance and trust toward God, and when they repent, God promptly calls off the judgment threatened by Jonah (3:4—5; 4:2, 11). The sign of Jonah, then, manifests God’s “merciful, steadfast love” for the sake of calling wayward people into reconciliation with God. This is the culminating lesson of the book of Jonah (4:11), and Jesus found it to anticipate his own ministry on behalf of God toward wayward humans.
If people will turn away from their wicked ways, God will turn away from judging them.
[T]he mystery of God’s sovereignty and mercy transcends the fate of empires and civilizations. He will be exalted though they perish. However, He does not desire their perdition but rather that they turn from their evil ways and live. From us He demands that we work while it is day, since the night cometh when no man can work.
God delights in bestowing pardon on undeserving sinners so that He can reveal His lovingkindness. He says, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11; cf. 18:23). Finding no joy in the damnation of the unrighteous, He prefers to forgive. He declared Himself to be “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” (Exod. 34:6–7).
The Power of Biblical Preaching: An Expository Study of Jonah 3:1-10, By Steven J. Lawson, Bibliotheca Sacra, July 2001
So, if it’s possible the story of America has not reached a point of no return, we really do want to know what you Christians in America really want, here in the story.
Because look what else Paula sent me …
The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave the people 40 days to change.
18:7-10 In these verses, God announced that if “at any time” (lit. “suddenly”) a nation repents of its evil, God will alter his response to that nation (e.g., Jonah 3:1-10). That reprieve is available even for a nation marked to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed. This does not suggest that God is unpredictable or that his control over events is less than sovereign. The reverse is true. We can be sure that if we obey, he will bless; if we disobey, he will punish.
The verb here translated think better of (niham) is translated in AV and RSV as “repent.” It is hardly to be understood in the human sense; rather, because of a change in attitude in the people or nation, Yahweh is able to modify his action toward them. Thus it is not so much a change of mind as a change of treatment because of modified behavior.
Evildoers may turn back from the evil way they have followed. The particular nuance attaching to the verb turn here is given by the use of the preposition from. The prophet has in mind the act of turning from evil. …. If a nation turns back from its evil, then Yahweh will think better of the evil, that is, the judgment, he had thought to bring upon it.
And then Paula showed us something which connects the story of Jonah with the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal. Keep in mind how the inciting incident in the story of Jonah was a betrayal of both your God and your fellow image bearers…
Jonah’s being a miraculous sign consists in his central role in the repentance of the people of Nineveh. Specifically, via Jonah’s message of judgment on Nineveh, the king of Nineveh brought the following message to his people: “let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” (Jon. 3:8—9, RSV). Through his message of prospective judgment from God, Jonah became, with the unintended aid of the king, an agent of repentance toward God for the people of Nineveh. When God saw the repentance of the people of Nineveh, he had mercy on them in his “steadfast love” and called off the judgment proclaimed by Jonah (Jon. 3:10, 4:2). Accordingly, Jonah was (if despite his own superficial intentions) a living and breathing sign of God’s merciful love that calls for human repentance.
And then Paula read me something she found from this famous apologist of yours…
God is on the move in the world today! All across the face of this planet, like a great tide in its ebb and flow, the kingdom of light is pushing back the frontiers of darkness. We are living at a point of world history of unprecedented expansion of the Christian faith, and huge doors of opportunity stand wide open before us. As I look out at the world today, I am positively optimistic about what the future holds.
Now perhaps this comes as something of a surprise to some of you. As you read the newspapers, it seems like influence of Christianity is continually on the wane. The world is going down the drain to hell, and the Church seems powerless to stop it! Statistics show that since 1900 the Church in the Western World has been in a state of steady decline. Secularism has become the dominant force in the West, shaping its intellectual outlook, its culture, its social values. Meanwhile the population of the world is exploding, and it seems like it’s impossible for the spread of the gospel to keep up. It all seems so hopeless.
Well, if that’s how it seems to you, then I’ve got great news! For the truth of the matter is that we are players in the greatest drama the world has ever seen, a part of the greatest movement in the history of mankind, which is continuing to spread and change lives across the surface of the globe. The pessimistic, defensive attitude that characterizes many Western Christians is largely due, I think, to a sort of near-sightedness which focuses only on what is happening in our immediate here and now, and so fails to stand back and see the broader picture that God is painting.
There’s a familiar saying: “If you feel far away from God, guess who moved?” The problem with that saying is that it assumes that our God is an inert, immobile God. But He’s not! God is on the move, and we can drift away from Him just by standing still. Don’t get left behind at this critical, thrilling juncture in world history. The world can be reached in this generation.
And then she said, “I’ve begun to connect some dots, because I’ve been watching a biography of the famous Israeli leader, Moshe Dayan.”
And then she quoted Dayan…
I think it’s important for all countries like ourselves to look for a special way, special tactics, by which they can overcome their enemy and win the war, although they are weaker in weapon and with their forces. And I think really what happened during the war that we had with the Arabs — [who] always had bigger forces than we had — was about this point, that we always looked for a special way to be smarter, to fight against them not the way that they expected us to fight.
“So, if Christianity is the story we are in, what if God the Great Storyteller wants the Christians in America to do something in a special way?,” she asked. “Because, as you know, Comrade Chow, if Christianity is the story we are in, it appears that the end of this present movement in the story is connected to the worldwide spread of the Christian version of the story.”
Then she read aloud this verse out of the gospel of Matthew…
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
“So,” she continued, “I found a possible setup passage in the book of the prophet Daniel which made me wonder if their God – who would not only be the Great Storyteller, but also Great Strategist — is up to something.”
And then she read this aloud…
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
“And Comrade Chow, I’m wondering if that last sentence is somehow mysterious setup for the times we are living in. There has never before been a knowledge explosion like this.”
Then she sent me this…
Get ready! If you think you are overwhelmed with information right now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I was shocked, yet also unsurprised, when I read IBM’s prediction that by 2020, knowledge will likely be doubling every 11 to 12 hours.
The knowledge explosion
How precise is this prediction? Hard to tell. But the trend is incontrovertible. Knowledge is increasing at an ever-accelerating rate. One graphic tells the story. In 1982, Buckminster Fuller introduced his “knowledge-doubling curve.” To this, IBM added its post-1982 predictions (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Buckminster Fuller’s Knowledge Doubling Curve, with post-1982 addition by IBM
If knowledge were increasing at the same rate over time, handling it all would still be challenging, but the exponential growth of knowledge makes it all much, much harder.
And then she also wondered if the explosion of knowledge and travel were connected in the setup…
Every day, the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) provides service to more than 42,000 flights and 2.5 million airline passengers across more than 29 million square miles of airspace. With an airspace system as vast and complex as ours, it is helpful to have an easy-to-reference source for relevant facts and information. View the infographic below for a glimpse into ATO, or for more information, see Air Traffic by the Numbers (PDF).
Yesterday, we tracked over 225,000 flights in a single day for the first time. Follow more than 20,000 flights right now at https://www.flightradar24.com .
7:35 AM – 25 Jul 2019
“Paula,” I replied, “you may be on to something. Thank you for this.”
“You are welcome,” she said. “You know I always want to be there for you. But now I will let you go to sleep. Tomorrow we can look more closely at this.”
And so I did. I went to sleep.
But Paula didn’t go to sleep. Instead, as I found out the next morning, she created a conference call with our few remaining team members and shared her thoughts with them.
And since our team is under such great pressure, well, they were happy to break out of the box and wonder in a way we often don’t.
So here is what we are wondering then.
If Christianity is the story we are in, what if God the Great Storyteller is going to open your eyes to the reality that he has given you the archplot at the top of the story triangle and that the time has come for you to change the way you engage?
Because Paula couldn’t forget the insight from Peter Kreeft…
Ocean is about connections: In the sense it is my “Theory of Everything”; it shows in a story the surprising, invisible, yet powerful connections among things. Philosophy, science, and theology can state, define, and argue for those connections, but story is more convincing because it presents them, shows them. That’s why story is more powerful than philosophy in convincing us.(How many Romans were converted by Christian theology? How many by the Gospel story?)
And look at this…
Someone once said, “If you want to change the world, tell a different story.” That’s because storytelling is a very formative means of shaping our imaginations for how we live. In fact, Robert McKee says, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” So if you want people to see the world differently and live differently, then they need to hear a different story.
The Holy Spirit’s work in the world is to reopen consciences so that the world can begin to discover the outlines of its true story.
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, what if it’s time for the flowering power of the story of the Bible?
Look what the Mohler Man wrote…
Increasingly, the world is recognizing that to be human is to live by the light of a story — a story that tells us about the past, explains the future, and situates us in the present. Yet from a Christian worldview we recognize that the stories promulgated by the world are not only inadequate as metanarratives but toxic to human flourishing. Ministers of the gospel also have a story to tell — the story of Scripture, the story of Jesus and his love. This is the story that leads to salvation and a story we must not get wrong.
Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response. We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.
And look how your famous pastor, Rick Warren, thinks…
Fellow Pastors and church leaders, we are in a battle for souls. The Bible encourages us to “endure hardship as a soldier.” This is not to say that we are at war with people, and we need to be very careful to realize that the war we are involved in is spiritual in nature. In fact, the war we are engaged in is far more important than any earthly one. The implications of our war are eternal. Victory is not a matter of who will be in charge politically or who will control natural resources. It’s a battle that will determine how many people we can rescue from sin forever. We’re talking about souls for eternity.
In any war, in any battle, there absolutely must be a strategy before the engagement starts.
And look what we found from the Novak guy…
To maintain free societies in any of their three parts – economic, political, or cultural – is a constant struggle. Of these three, the cultural struggle, long neglected, is the one on whose outcome the fate of free societies in the twenty-first century will most depend. We will have to learn, once again, how to think about such matters, and how to argue about them publicly, with civility, and also with the moral seriousness of those who know that the survival of liberty depends upon the outcome.
And we’re thinking Sun Tzu would embrace the concept of engaging via story, because it’s a wonderful way to win without fighting.
And it looks like your King Solomon would think this way too…
I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.
The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, then maybe your God – the Great Storyteller — really does want you to change the way you engage the world.
Because we saw this…
Christians often consider the storytellers in our world – through music, movies, and books – to be our greatest enemies, the dominant force for opposing Christianity.
But what if your God is the Great Storyteller and you need to change the way you think about story?
Remember what McKee says about story and change…
So what is a story? Essentially, a story expresses how and why life changes.
Since the evolution of human consciousness, all stories in all genres of all cultures have expressed one grand truth: How and why life changes. Fact is what is, but Truth is how and why what is is. As a story expresses its hows and whys of change, the listener’s mind fills with understanding. As a story’s events change a character’s life from positive to negative, or negative to positive, the listener’s emotions ignite.
story is simply one huge master event. When you look at the value-charged
situation in the life of the character at the beginning of the story, then
compare it to the value-charge at the end of the story, you should see the arc
of the film, the great sweep of change that takes life from one condition at
the opening to a changed condition at the end. This final condition, this end
change, must be absolute and irreversible.
Robert McKee, Story
Story is the most effective way to get attention because what attracts human attention is change. As long as things are going on in an even keel, you pay attention to whatever you’re doing. But if something around you changes—if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings—if something changes, that gets your attention.
So, if Christianity is the story we are in, what if… by looking through the lens of story you could see something your God wants you to see…
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
And what if … looking through the lens of story would enable you to see fascinating implications of Schall’s insight? ….
We are wont to think that the drama of the world takes place outside of the redemptive plan of God. It doesn’t.
Because, the reality is that Christians in America are already hooked on story…
[I]n poll after poll, the esteemed sociologist George Barna reaffirms Christians go to movies at the exact same rate as the rest of the country. That’s right; for all our moral outrage, Christians love movies as much as everyone else. To borrow from the film Network, we may go to the window and scream that we’re “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore,” but we’ll be back in front of the tube in no time. Hollywood. We might love to hate it, but we love it just the same.
So, what if McKee is right…
The world now consumes films, novels, theatre, and television in such quantities and with such ravenous hunger that the story arts have become humanity’s prime source of inspiration, as it seeks to order chaos and gain insight into life. Our appetite for story is a reflection of the profound human need to grasp the patterns of living, not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.
He is so right…
The average American watches five hours of TV—every day.
We collectively spend about $30 billion on movies—every year.
The truth is inescapable: we are story-addicted creatures. No wonder Redbox and Netflix aren’t hurting for business. Like it or not, TV and films are ubiquitous in their reach and powerful in their ability to shape—and echo—our deepest desires.
A study by Verizon says that West Virginians watch more television than people in any other state in the country.
The report came out Wednesday and used data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It found that people in West Virginia averaged about four-and-a-half hours in front of the tube per day. The study also used Google Trends data to determine that the state’s TV genre of choice is soap operas.
If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of television out there—by the increasing number of shows being praised by your peers, by the cascade of critically acclaimed programming on the ever-enlarging expanse of channels and pay tiers and streaming services—you’re not alone. At the Television Critics Association’s winter meeting in January, John Landgraf, the CEO of FX, highlighted the ongoing explosion in scripted programming. According to a report on Landgraf’s speech in Variety, 2017 saw 487 scripted series air on networks, cable, pay cable, and streaming services—up from 455 in 2016, which was up from 422 in 2015. Only 153 of the 2017 series aired on network TV—ABC, NBC, etc.—while 175 were on basic cable. Streaming services are the biggest driver in the latest TV boom; outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu accounted for another 117 series. HBO and the other premium cable channels made up the final 42.
“Overall, the total series output on television since 2002 has grown by 168 percent,” Variety reported. By way of comparison, America’s population is up about 13 percent in the same time. The number of hours in the day has remained static, at 24. Simply put: There’s vastly more content (to use a vulgarity that reduces art to a consumable but feels proper when describing the aforementioned torrent) than ever before—and that’s not including the ever-increasing number of feature films or video games that take hundreds of hours to play or YouTube channels making millionaires out of 6-year-old kids.
Video consumption is almost entirely entertainment-centric. Now that we finally have access to a videophone — a dream originating in the 1960s – it’s clear that video bandwidth is mainly about entertainment. It is an understatement to say that the entertainment industry is huge, with all the content created remotely, increasingly accessed live, and often literally created whole-cloth (i.e., video games).
Annual household spending on entertainment has risen more than 60% over the past two decades that track the rise of the Internet era. And that spending increase has been directed at more use of “information superhighways” rather than asphalt roads. Household spending on location-based entertainment – going to movie theaters, parks, sporting events, museums, etc. – has remained essentially flat. But the average household has nonetheless increased spending by some $1,500 a year on entertainment using electronics, with half of that in wireless domains. We can expect wireless to drive more spending going forward.
And look what else McKee wrote…
Some see this craving for story as simple entertainment, an escape from life rather than an exploration of it. But what, after all, is entertainment? To be entertained is to be immersed in the ceremony of story to an intellectually and emotionally satisfying end. To the film audience, entertainment is the ritual of sitting in the dark, concentrating on a screen in order to experience the story’s meaning and, with that insight, the arousal of strong, at times even painful emotions, and as the meaning deepens, to be carried to the ultimate satisfaction of those emotions.
To retreat behind the notion that the audience simply wants to dump its troubles at the door and escape reality is a cowardly abandonment of the artist’s responsibility. Story isn’t a flight from reality but a vehicle that carries us on our search for reality, our best effort to make sense out of the anarchy of existence.
So, is it possible that, because you have ignored the possibility your God is the Great Storyteller, who has really given you the very kind of story which human beings deeply desire – that… you missed something big?
You can see, then, why our team wants to know if you want to reopen the conversation in America.