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Media_and_Religion_Mattingly_Sharlet1Recently in my graduate seminar class we have been discussing the extent to which entertainment has seeped into all areas of our lives.  Entertainment is directly intertwined with many important parts of our lives.  Education and religion to name a few.

In our discussions we focused on just how connected religion is with entertainment.  While the earlier forms of entertainment in religions were song and dance, the ways in which believers connect with each other and their faith has expanded.  There are now movies, comic books, networks, internet, novels, and video games that are strongly connected with religion.

Religion has always been a part of my life, but it now it seems to be more accessible in a variety of ways – through forms of entertainment (& through that advotainment) and social media.  Every year my nephew, who is now 16, shares his excitement and enthusiasm of attending Acquire The Fire.  http://www.acquirethefire.com/   It is a “2-day (27 hour) event packed with powerful Christian bands and speakers, setting the stage for your teens to have a life-changing encounter with the living God”.  While I can’t fathom participating in 27 hours of this, it is obviously a successful venture.  It has been putting on these events for over 20 years in a variety of states.  This type of event successfully attracts teenagers in youth groups in churches around the United States.  With an effective and solid website that branches out to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, the word is spread quickly.

Religion and Entertainment are often intertwined these days. I often wonder if the variety of ways in which they use entertainment and social media as their platform if they are effective in spreading their word?  From the mega-churches with their grandiose stages to weekend long events, churches have started using entertainment and social media as the foundation for advertising.  In the midst of all of the media clutter, it is possible that their “work” is being lost to the millions of messages that the public receives on a daily basis.

I wonder if churches will have more success in this area and become more Internet savvy in terms of promoting their goals and purpose in reaching out to their target audience.