Holy Assurance In Our Technology Pastor, Or I’ve Become Just Like My Fundamentalists

I’m out of town on a surfing trip this week taking advantage of my time off due to unemployment. So I’m cleaning out the draft folder and posting what I consider to be Charlie’s Church of Christ b-sides. Every band writes songs that aren’t amazing enough to put on the record, yet still shouldn’t be tossed out. These posts are like that. Hopefully you don’t think they’re “f-sides.” Please note I won’t have regular internet access and won’t be replying to comments until later in the week.

On my five month road trip across the U.S. a few years back I would select the church I’d attend (in whatever town I was camping in) by who had the coolest website. That cool website usually meant I was walking into a slick auditorium with high grade lighting constantly changing as they showed funny video productions during announcements. It meant I didn’t visit any Lutheran churches. I’d leave the church impressed by how advanced they were.

Christians are historically late bloomers when it comes to keeping up with culture. However lately we’ve embraced technology. I think it’s because being hi-tech helps Christianity feel cool and hip so we finally don’t feel like a dusty, archaic dark ages religion.

It worked on me. If we convince a non-Christian to come to church we’re proud to show off our gadgets and show that we’re not like those medieval churches with robes, hymnals and gray hairs. It took a while to catch up but here we are baby!

I think technology helps us, humanity, feel powerful – even invincible. It gives us a sense of security and confidence – that we can do whatever we want and overcome whatever obstacle no matter how tall. And while we’ve achieved much and come quite far the fact remains we are small. Even worse, we always be.

Without the earth we sit upon we’d have none of the materials to fashion this technology we love. And, as we are painfully aware of recently, we are at the mercy of this very same earth.

I’m not saying technology is bad. It’d be hilarious if that was what I’m saying, since I am typing this. I grew up right near the Amish, but I’m not advocating for a simple life. I’m just saying we in all of our fancy digital lives it would do us good to remember we’re still playing with the same stuff we’re made of – dirt.

At some point no matter how much you’ve rebelled you slowly realize you’re starting to sound just like your parents. It’s eternally annoying. I’m there now. I feel like the fundamentalists I came from. It seems like our love affair with technology is just another idol we’ve constructed to make us feel better about ourselves.

And why are idols so dangerous? They work. They food us, convincingly. We fall for it hard. And they’re super easy, a lot less complex than that pesky God.

What do you think about the church’s recent love affair with technology? And if you’re going to rant about using technology as a tool then say something about that we’re not expecting!

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16 Responses to Holy Assurance In Our Technology Pastor, Or I’ve Become Just Like My Fundamentalists

  1. Just as the stuff we’re working with is the same, the message from God is the same. He’s seen it all…what we’ve done, what we will do….and He knows all about technology. The bottom line is, He doesn’t need it, but He can use it, as long as we’re willing to allow it. And since it is a part of the time we live in and it’s available to us we may as well use it if He provides it. The question is, when has He provided it, and when have we pursued the idol and made it happen ourselves? Sometimes I wonder if “church” is The Church He has in mind. What we “need” in order to be useful to Him becomes very confusing to me, especially when it’s expensive. So, as long as the technology is there, I’ll be happy to use it. But I’m not too inclined to go searching and spending on the latest, newest stuff, personally. All I really need is my voice and a Bible.
    On the other hand, I wouldn’t be reading your blog without technology. And certainly, that’s been valuable to me and useful to Him.

    • I’m certainly not against the church using technology – its inevitable and apart of our times like you say – but it’s all about how we use it. I do think it’s easy to succumb to the sexiness factor. And as you say I’ve been very blessed by the technology blogs use – so there’s a fantastic use.

  2. David says:

    I don’t really think about techno0logy when I am in a church. What I am looking for is God. I like worship that so anointed you don’t need to see the words on a screen. I like a message that is so anointed that you sit on the edge of your seat saying, “tell me more.”

    I’d be embarrassed to bring a friend to a church where they were not welcome for any reason – or just left standing there without a few folks coming to say hello. If a church doesn’t receive us, it’s pathetic.

    Happy surfing.

  3. phil_style says:

    Having also gone through all the “hi-tech Christianity that feels cool and hip”, I now long for some of that “medieval churches with robes, hymnals and gray hairs”, it seems more genuine in a way…

  4. Carla says:

    Haha! I loved the line about sounding like our parents. I’ve come to realize that I am way more old fashioned than I ever thought I’d admit to! And I was always so annoyed with my dad for being so old fashioned!

    I think there was a time I thought all the technology was cool, but I’m over it, I want more of Jesus and more community. I think you can have a wonderful experience without all the hype, but I also think making church an experience (with or with out light shows and rock concerts) every week is not a good thing. Manipulating people’s emotions with pretty lights or heart wrenching testimonies isn’t going to make strong disciples, it’s going to continue the Sunday Christian theme of people who go to church once a week to get their Jesus high and go back to regular life for the other 6 days.

    So I’d have to agree, simpler is better- not Amish simple, but a simplicity that puts God’s beautiful Word and His love at it’s center.

    Have fun surfing!

  5. Larry Hughes says:

    There is something about churches with all the techno whizz things and bells and whistles. It is kinda cool. However, I would like to see more of God and the Holy Spirit bringing out their techno whizz things. Now that would really be cool. The Holy Spirit lining up 10,000 angels singing glory to God in a small church, miraculous healings right on the spot, the bringing light to a darkened world, and the supernatural aspects, all orchestrated by “their” technology . Now that would be anointing to the highest degree.

  6. Our perspectives on technology are funny. I used to think that technology was wrong, maybe even sinful. After all, Jesus never used powerpoint. Now that I have gotten past that phase I love the technology. I have never been to a church that had the full light show going on, but I think I need to. I also think I need to experience the silence and solitude of a quieter, reflective type of service.

  7. Pingback: My Sacred Surfing Trip (Of Hedonism), Or Brainwashed By Religion | Charlie's Church of Christ

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