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.
“In the digital age, monotony with Christ is the chief warning signal to alert us that the spectacles of this world are suffocating our hearts from the supreme spectacle of the universe.”
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, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
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