As my daughter sat down to work on her homework this week, she sat down at the dining room table, opened the laptop and logged into a web-based platform to work on fractions.
“Man,” I thought, “things sure have changed.”
Back in the day when I was in 3rd grade, we had workbooks that were printed on paper and we used pencils. When I was in college, we still used paper and pencil. In fact, I remember my college professor calling my English class into his office and telling us,
“This is something called the ‘internet’. You can type in any author and find out information about them.”
My mind was blown.
My generation was one of the last to really have to go to the library and look through the card catalog to find books because there was no other option. After that, the internet changed everything.
So as I keep thinking about technology in worship and the church, I thought that I should come up with some basic rules because things will continue to change. Some of us might not like it, but change will happen and it’s the difference between life and death. Change is part of the gospel message. We change from sinner to believer. Change will happen in all parts of life. We can’t demand the technologies of yesterday.
So if that is true, here are some rules for me as I go forward…
1. Technology today must be technology for today. Language changes. We no longer speak like Shakespeare or King James. Preaching styles change. Society changes. We can’t expect to use technology from another age for today. We are placed by God in this time and place to serve him. That includes the technology of today.
2. Technology will be different based on application and context. We shouldn’t expect someone in Africa to use European architecture, although it’s taken us awhile to understand this. So someone in a business context is going to use and need different technology than a person in the creative arts. It sounds like common sense, but is true.
3. Our technology and use of technology must reflect our Christian world-view. Don’t be fooled that technology is neutral. Technology itself can be developed as systems or vehicles for a certain message. This is the hard one, I think. But part of the message of certain technologies is the same message of the tower of Babel. We can make this world better if we just install the newest operating system that will fix all our glitches. And the inherent message is that we don’t need God, we just need more technology.
What do you think about these rules? I’ve worked through rules 1 and 2, but question 3 is still hard for me to unwrap.
Is it possible that I’m exaggerating? Is it possible to redeem technology? Is there another option?
I’m still thinking through all of this. Let me know what you think! In the meantime, I’m going to check the “ClassDojo” app on my phone to see (IN REALTIME!) if my daughter’s behaving herself in class.
Thanks to my brother, Joel and Francis A. Schaeffer for their thoughts. Specifically, phone calls with the former and a book by the latter. (Art and the Bible. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 1973.). They have already thought about these things and helping guide me…