The authors ask some good questions, and offer some stimulating ideas.
I have often wrestled with the pull between wanting to add more visual vocabulary to my teaching and preaching, and wanting to preserve the art of oral/aural preaching. Sometimes I manage, in an oral sermon, to dip into the visual stream.
For example, in talking about 1 Peter 5:6-9, I might say,
"What does it mean, in a movie, when the characters are suddenly shown inside of two circles, like this?" (put two O hands together) "It's the view through binoculars, right? What is the filmmaker saying with that visual cliche? What does it mean?" (It means someone is watching them, is the response I hope to hear.)
"What if it's one circle--and it has crosshairs? Does filming that way give a different message?" (A sniper is watching them, maybe going to shoot one of them.)
Then I go on to contrast "He [God] cares for you" and "the devil is prowling... looking for someone to devour." I say that God is watching us (binocular hands) but the Devil is hunting us (rifle posture, peering through scope).
Dopey little example. Maybe I'll do it one of these days.
Here's my favorite quote from the article (but the emphasis is mine, not the authors'):
The development and introduction of technology has not only made us aware of the different ways in which we process words, but it also has pointed out the myriad ways in which we now process images. Film and television celebrate disunion between idea and image often purely to shock us and to get our attention. This break in relation is rarely repaired for the sake of the information still to come; it is often either sidestepped or completely disregarded as the contents of the message are delivered. This technique is gradually being applied to all generations. For example, advertising that uses songs of the 1960s to sell any product regardless of its relation to songs of the Baby Boomers.
Even so, Boomers and other generations may not always be challenged by the notion that the contents of the Gospel and the contents of their lives are directly correlated. For Christ to have incorporated into His parables the simple image of drinking from a well shows us the relationship between our lives and His Gospel message. For many young people, however, even these parables sometimes do not resonate in their lives. There seems to be disunion between image and meaning because of the proliferation of uncorrelated images in advertising, film and other texts that they see daily. These young readers then interact with technology and media in which images have been used intentionally often without the expectation or realization that the images have been manipulated with purpose. Worship can bridge this gap between the careful and careless use of images by providing what we have earlier referred to as graphic resonance. The caution for users of technology in worship is to always remember that there is a need for resonance between images and words.
Christians need to be so careful about this. Resist the fad. The image appeals, but if it doesn't contribute to the message, it worsens the signal-to-noise ratio. I've blogged before about McLuhan; his ideas continue to fascinate me. I'm glad other Christian thinkers are thinking about these things too.