I’m trying to tie this study of Kenny to the incarnation. Having so much focus on the unknowable infinite Other, I need to consider life as we can know it. The mediated reality, mediated by our experience, our brains, creation as it was given to us. Past tense and ongoing. And mediated, of course, by media.
“In the beginning was the Word…”
It was an easy mistake to make, embracing the illusion of the text as timeless. Associating the Word with the book I was reading, I believed I might hear the Word of God in the person of Jesus through the medium of print. I was nineteen.
Soon the printed page was largely usurped by the pixilated computer monitor. I loved it. Today I even participate in the Daily Office online, that selection of prayers and scripture passages read in the morning, noon and evening prayer. The practice was at first largely oral, going back to Constantine and monastic life in the third century, and is still recited aloud in communities. But with the text flickering on my laptop, I pray not really alone, though there’s no one else in this room.
Marshall McLuhan identified the relationship between language technologies and meanings, stating “the medium is the message”, overstating his point but a point well taken. There is a trace of the oral in the written text, the written word on the printed page, with the pixelated image on my computer screen.
Yet even when ancient sacred or even mundane symbols were pressed onto clay tablets, the clay itself containing remnants of living organisms. The ephemeral words and the eternal Word are only adjacent. To identify the medium with the message might be straight-out idolatry.