Posted tagged ‘Technology’

Tim Challies – The Next Story

February 22, 2011

Movie trailer for his new book. Hilarious and convicting. “Do you own technology, or does technology own you?”

In Defense of Physical Community

February 2, 2010

As a follow-up to my post about technology and the absence of community, I want to direct you a a series of guest posts by Jake Johnson on Rethink Mission wherein he makes a good defense for physical community, contra “internet church.”  Here are the links:

–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part One
–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part Two
–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part Three
–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part Four

Obama, Community, and Technology

January 30, 2010

Yesterday, Devin Dwyer from ABC News reported on the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency from the religious perspective.  In his opening paragraph, Dwyer stated that the Obama attended church only three times during his first year.  Obviously, as the article later explains, it is quite difficult for the President to attend a gathering without causing great disruption and difficulty with the security and additional personnel.  In any case, what intrigued me the most was what followed.  Dywer writes:

But sources familiar with the president’s personal life say Obama remains a faithful Christian while in the White House, practicing his beliefs regularly in private with family and the aid of his BlackBerry.

This sentence, while intending to bolster confidence in Obama’s religious devotion, says something quite alarming about the day in which we live, specifically in two areas: the privatization of spirituality and the advent of mobile technology. It appears that the latter has been used to facilitate the former.

Just this past week, I led a breakout session at the Global Church Advancement (GCA) National Church Planting Seminar on technology, the new media, and the church during which we addressed the influence of technology on the church, not the least of which is the “luxury” of privatized spiritual experience apart from a covenanted community to which you share live and find your identity.  Ironically, in the case of Obama who is well-known for his practice as a community organizer, is deprived from the very community that is expressed and demonstrated among professing Christians.

But I wonder how much of this is true in the world around us at large?  How many people are seeking a more privatized spiritual experience not requiring them to live in community with other people and yet find greater access to “practice their beliefs” through mobile technology?  The rise of internet “churches,” live-streaming services on smart phones, and the readily accessible sermons on iTunes move the emphasis on the local expression of the body of Christ from being the church (as expressed in Scripture) to “going to church” (as expressed in Christendom) to having a downloadable religious experience at the comfort and confines of one’s own choosing (as expressed in postmodernism).

We need to answer the question whether it is possible to be a “faithful Christian” (as quoted above) in the absence of biblical community that is being circumvented through technology and a privation that says my spirituality is “between me and God.”  So I want to pose it to you in closing . . .

Is it possible to be a faithful Christian without regularly participating in biblical community?  Why or why not?

As a follow-up to that question, how should we think about the role of technology?  How can the advance of technology work for the advance of the local church, not the substitution of it?