Virtual Voices

YouTube: Christians broadcast God

Religion

Thirty-five Californian college students are getting credit for watching YouTube and posting comments. Alexandra Juhasz, media professor at Pitzer College, designed the course, "Learning from YouTube," to examine YouTube's social role. Eric Bramlett said Juhasz' students aren't the only ones who can learn from YouTube. Christians can, too.

Bramlett, creative arts director at Community Christian Church, directed a parody of the Mac vs. PC commercials, poking fun at the straight-laced, suit-wearing, bumper-sticker-loving Christian stereotype. Bramlett said a Christian site and an Apple site found his YouTube video and linked to it: "In one day, we had a ridiculous amount of hits."

Bramlett has posted 50 videos on YouTube and boasts almost 1,000 subscribers. "Churches can take advantage of that kind of buzz that YouTube can create," Bramlett said. "It's got real potential to be a front door for your friends who don't go to church." Bramlett said videos can give non-believing friends a taste of your church experience, and he has used his clips to witness to non-believing friends.

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Bramlett said churches who use YouTube are adapting to the culture's new language: "We live in a short attention span culture. ... The language of that culture is short, two-minute videos that are easily watched, easily finished." Some may object that Christians should be changing that language, but Bramlett disagrees with the assumption that length equals depth: "I think you can be very poignant with few words and with little time." Bramlett also believes that humor can both relax and challenge people.

Bramlett said YouTube is one way for Christians to "have a say" in modern culture: ""You can start a buzz, you can start a spark, you can plant a seed."

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