Book Image

Competing Spectacles

Treasuring Christ in the Media Age

by

What images should I feed my eyes? We often leave this question unanswered — because we don’t ask it. Maybe we don’t want to ask it. But viral videos, digital images, and other spectacles surround us in every direction — competing for our time, our attention, our lust, and our money. So we let our lazy eyes feed on whatever comes our way. As a result, we never stop to consider the consequences of our visual diet on our habits, desires, and longings.

Journalist Tony Reinke asked these hard questions himself — critiquing his own habits — and now invites us along to see what he discovered as he investigated the possibilities and pitfalls of our image-centered world. In the end, he shares the beauty of a Greater Spectacle — capable of centering our souls, filling our hearts, and stabilizing our gaze in this age of the digital spectacle.

Endorsements

  • Thirty years after Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Tony Reinke’s Competing Spectacles takes the impact-analysis of modern media to new levels: a new height and new depth. New height, because Christ crucified, risen, and reigning is brought into the discussion as the Spectacle above all spectacles. New depth, because the focus is not on what is happening to politics, but what is happening to the human soul. The conception of this book is not cavalier; it is rooted in the profound biblical strategy of sanctification by seeing (2 Cor. 3:18). The spectacle of Christ’s glory is “the central power plant of Christian sanctification.” Ugly spectacles make us ugly. Beautiful spectacles make us beautiful. Reinke is a good guide in how to deflect the damaging effects of digital images “in anticipation of a greater Sight.” John Piper, Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org
  • Tony Reinke has proven to be a wise guide for Christians through this era of technological whirl. Now with this accessible, sagacious book, he has done so again. This book shows us how to pull our eyes away from the latest viral video or our digital avatars of self and toward the “spectacle” before which we often cringe and wince: the crucifixion of our Lord. That’s the spectacle we need. Russell Moore, Public Theologian at Christianity Today
  • Tony Reinke has the prophetic knack of helping us see the truth about ourselves and our world. In these pages — as illuminating as they are disturbing and challenging — he stands in the tradition of the spiritual masters who have understood that the city of man’s — and woman’s — soul is often attacked and destroyed through eye-gate. But Competing Spectacles not only diagnoses our distorted vision; it prescribes spectacles that give us twenty-twenty spiritual vision. Essential reading. Sinclair Ferguson, Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Decades ago, Malcolm Muggeridge helped us notice something: the Bible came down to us not through Dead Sea Videotapes but through Dead Sea Scrolls. Nor could videotapes have brought us the Word. Now today, with similar insight, Tony Reinke helps us notice something: beyond the media images daily surrounding us, tempting us, intimidating us, and defrauding us, Christ the Word welcomes us. Competing Spectacles can guide us back to reality, honesty, and calm, as we lift our eyes humbly to the Crucified One and pray, “Please show me your glory.” Ray Ortlund, Pastor, Nashville, Tennessee
  • How to navigate the Christian life in a media-saturated culture feels more confusing than ever. Tony Reinke provides a dose of desperately needed clarity. Combining careful research with relevant application, this book is for anyone who wants to be more discerning and critically engaged in our culture — which should be every Christian! Jaquelle Crowe
  • As a millennial who desires to abide in Christ while simultaneously engaging culture, I found this book incredibly helpful. The world seeks to captivate our attention through an endless stream of distractions, but Reinke encourages us to revive our hearts to the spectacle of Christ. I walked away encouraged to gaze upon the glory of the gospel, knowing it will reverberate through me and empower me to walk in Christlikeness. Hunter Beless
  • Your time is limited. But you live in a world where digital eye candy, viral videos, national scandals, and social media are limitless—a world that competes for every split second of your attention. And you must train yourself both to focus and to ignore. Both are gospel skills in a battle between the diversions of our present age and our citizenship in the age to come. Every generation of Christians has faced this struggle, but never in a media-dominated culture like ours. So how can we meet the challenges and avoid the pitfalls of our day? Leaning on Scripture as the lens through which we view this digital age, Tony Reinke communicates in brilliantly lucid prose a proposal for how we can glorify our unseen Savior in this world full of sensory diversions. Bruce Ashford
  • If this book helps readers to digitally detox and to unplug from all sources of media that threaten to drown us in noise and to rob us of the capacity to attend to the things that truly enable us to flourish as human beings, then it will only have begun to do its good work. Take the spectacles of God’s two books, Scripture and Creation, as John Calvin once called them, and learn to resee your life as God sees it. Take and read! Taste and see! W. David O. Taylor
  • Tony Reinke issues a grace-filled and prophetic call to examine ourselves as we navigate through a world of endless entertainment, spectacle, and distraction. Are we bored with Christ? Have we become suffocated by the superficialities of our society’s spectacles? Do we crave the freeing and fresh winds of spiritual fervor that come from gazing upon the life-transforming beauty of Christ and his Word? Pick up and read—at your own peril, and for your soul’s delight. Trevin Wax, Managing Editor, The Gospel Project
  • Tony Reinke offers a succinct exposé of the threat that our image-saturated society poses to faith and to wisdom. Just as the noisiness of modern life so often prevents us from hearing God’s voice, so mass-mediated images blind us from seeing Christ in the church, in the world, and in the face of our neighbor. Reinke’s warning is that of the watchman who sees ‘the sword coming against the land.’ We’ll do well to heed his message. Craig M. Gay