I’ve been an advocate of the church’s embrace of technology for a very long time. I’m sure I’ve become sort of bore about it. But I’m not sure I’ll go as far as this statement from a leader of the PCUSA:
“Cynthia Holder-Rich called herself “tech-curious” rather than “tech-saavy” and noted that “the tech scene keeps up its inexorable process of change, and being a decade or half a decade behind means that we in the church are generally out of the game.”
Landon Whitsitt, Vice Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), responded to Cynthia’s post. He argues passionately about the role of technology. He says: ‘If we are not using technology as a part of our ministry . . . we are saying we do not care about being an incarnational presence in this world. By refusing to engage in the ways that those we would reach engage . . . we’re saying we don’t care about them.’ “
Christian’s have always used technology as part of our worship. There’s a reason that most churches before the age of microphones were long rectangular spaces (awesome acoustics). We were the people who popularized the codex over the scroll, and gave the printing press it’s first reason to exist. Churches are probably the biggest professional users of presentation software in any industry.
But there’s a question of using appropriate technology isn’t there? And sustainable tech as well. As I write this, oil is shooting up over $100/barrel on the reports of the rhetoric coming out of Tripoli. What will happen to the cost of paper bulletins with the full service printed out? What’s going to happen to the cost of keeping a big technology friendly glass box worship space heated?
I can be pretty easily convinced that we might go back to prayer books in the pews, and Victorian-style worship spaces with limited seating, small windows and high ceilings if oil continues to increase.
It’s not technology that going to make Church viable (if we insist on thinking that the Church depends on us to make viable). It’s going to be effective proclamation with the appropriate tools. So the question for us in the next decade is going to be; “What are the appropriate technologies?”
My first guess? Mobile tech – small, energy efficient portable communications and reference devices. (Which is part of the reason we’re one of the first congregations I know to have a decent mobile template for our parish website – take a look at www.azcathedral.org on your phone sometime.)
What do you think?