12/8/06

Is the Zune Born Again?

I was going to name this post "Is the Zune Saved?", but if I did that you might wrongly think that Microsoft's answer to iPod had actually found a way to seriously compete with Apple's MP3 player. No . . . no, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Instead I'd like to draw a striking comparison between the bloated media midget and Christian culture.
Microsoft's challenger to the iPod - the Zune - has had a less than spectacular debut in the US, slipping down the sales charts as American Christmas shopping activity intensifies.
And Christian media has had a less than less than spectacular debut, in fact it's still after almost 50 years trying to poke its head above the media flood. Christian media only seems to keep slipping under the radar as American media lust intensifies.
Reviews of the Zune have been mixed, with its wi-fi and video functions, software interface and digital rights management system all being targeted as needing more work.
"I do feel the Zune is three-fifths baked, rushed to market to feed the holiday electronics frenzy and nowhere near its potential as a wi-fi-enabled portable media device," wrote CNet reviewer, James Kim.
Reviews of Christian Media have been mixed. Passion good, Omega Code bad, Veggie Tales good for kids, Left behind on the duller side of mediocre. Christians' websites, videos, software programs and affinity tell other people what to do have all been targeted as either needing more work or needing to quit being worked on at all.

I feel that Christian media is at least three-fifths baked, rushing to keep up with secular culture and nowhere near its potential as a supernaturally backed, original creative arts producing machine.

So what hope is there for Zune? I think if it is taken off the shelves, revamped and rethought it might actually come to a point where people will start liking it again. But most of all - image is infinitely important. It hardly matters if the wi-fi capabilities allow you to share songs or to download them directly and wirelessly from your computer or the internet. It's bulky-looking. While Apple's going smaller and smaller Microsoft barges its way in, shakes the ground it walks on and says "Look at me! I'm better than that!" They've got it all backwards. They're n00bs.

So what hope is there for Christian media? It has got to be revamped, rethought and refocused. So far we have only pretended to use it as an outreach tool. In reality, we are the only ones watching it, we are the only ones buying it, we are the only ones to whom it ministers. We are kidding ourselves if we think that those on the outside are attracted by all of this. If image is important, ours is one of a n00b. That's really not so bad because n00bs get experience eventually get good at the game, right? Well . . . it's been about 50 years. 50. Years. And still we barge in and say "Look at us! We're better than that!" and we add, "And you should be, too!" And that addition is what annoys the heck out of everyone. Eternal life isn't about being better than anyone or anything - it's about receiving a free gift. They don't realize it and we don't communicate it.

So, is the Zune born again? Well, really, it's only recently been born the first time. Electronic gadgets can't get to heaven, right?

The question isn't whether Zune is - it's whether Christian media will be. If I have my way, yes.