For those of you who weren’t in attendance at Immersion last night (or for those of you who weren’t watching the live steam on live.bedeviant.com) Justin gave a pretty neat talk about the ways that we have seen advancing communication forms change the way in which we’re able to share the news of the gospel.
The example that he gave that pertains the most to us as Christians, I think, is Martin Luther’s belief that everyone should have their own Bible in a language that they could understand (not Latin). More specifically, the example relied heavily on the technology that allowed him to run with this idea: the printing press.
Martin Luther pushed printed translations of God’s word to everyone who had ears to hear, and became revolutionary in doing so. Today, the effects are still very tangible as 99% of us still have a printed Bible of some sort.
Justin went on to compare the technological advances of the internet to the printing press. The internet has given us nearly limitless capabilities to reach people on all ends of the globe in a plethora of mediums. Much in the way that the printing press was able to bring God’s word right to people’s hands and eyes, the internet takes that to a whole new level. People can watch church services online, watch worship music on YouTube, meet fellow Christians on Facebook and Twitter, read blogs where nerdy musicians are allowed to ramble, so on and so forth. The fact that we have a million golden opportunities is undeniable.
But, a question remains…
After the service last night, a friend of mine seemed less than enamored with the message of the night, so I inquired for an explanation. She told me that although Justin was correct about everything he said, she was concerned about the internet making church so accessible that it could promote complacency [or, at least, that’s what I heard]. That, while it’s great people can watch Immersion online, if that’s all they ever do with their faith, are we really helping? Or are we holding them back?
It’s a great question, and a very valid concern. If we go to the aforementioned example, we can definitely say that something happened between Martin Luther’s revolutionary actions and where we are today with printed Bibles. Perhaps people in Luther’s time were concerned that giving a Bible to everyone would have similar negative repercussions. Maybe they were concerned that people would sit in their homes and read, and that church attendance would plummet. Maybe they were concerned that people would start forming their own ideas of the Bible and start their own religious belief systems. Who knows? All we can say is that despite what concerns they may have had, the printed Bible has become a staple of anyone’s faith, and that a Christian life without it would be a very difficult one indeed.
I think that as we move forward into this unavoidable digital future, it would behoove us to ask similar tough questions and address our concerns about what we’re doing.
- What can we do to ensure that, even though we are using technology to reach people, we are still nudging them into community?
- How can we simultaneously broadcast our services to be viewed in front of a computer and promote a life of action that involves people getting up and going?
These new technologies are fantastic, and embracing them with the hope of spreading God’s love is equally as fantastic. As Justin said last night, “If Jesus were here today, he’d be on Twitter.” But, I’d have to add, Jesus would still get off his computer to go cast out demons, heal the sick, and preach the good news. Let’s make sure we’re doing the same!