Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Technology Has Gotten Ahead of Us

As you look around the radical changes in our culture resulting from our ever evolving technology, sometimes it may feel like we are playing “catch up” to our selves.  I write this in a laptop while driving down the highway, in a car with a computer that at one in the same time defines our fuel efficiency, provides us high definition music, barks out directions to us when we are loss, and keeps us at a cool climate of 70 degrees.  We may think that keeping up with evolving technology is a very modern question but it is not.  In the mid-1960's Dr. Martin Luther King said “we have allowed our technology to outrun our theology.”

The changing choices of reproductive technology, of prolonging life through mechanical devices, of social networking and communication, and a host of other things have left the Church playing catch up.  We are behind the curve in understanding and utilizing this technology in work and life of the Church.  We are behind the curve in understanding and addressing the consequences of technology upon the Church and the Christian.  We are behind the curve in understanding and evaluating the impact of technological change upon worship and Christian education.  In general we tend to follow fairly blindly until confronted with the jarring consequences of these changes.

I do not think we can afford to wait too long to understand and address the impact of such technological change upon the Christian and the Church.  We have more time to jump on the bandwagon and incorporate these technological changes into our life and work as the Church (neither the chancel nor the Sunday school room must be imprisoned to every new device or obligated to use video or PowerPoint or keep up with every Facebook fad).  We are late in speaking to the impact of such technological change upon conception, the prevention of conception, and the destruction of the life already conceived.  We are lagging way behind trying to catch up to what this technology has done to our values and the values of our children.

I am no Luddite but neither am I convinced that new is always good or better.  It seems to me that much of the technological change has resulted in growing isolation of people.  At the very moment we long to be most connected, we find ourselves with ear buds plugged into our I-Pods listening to music alone, checking our email, updating our Facebook page, alone in our rooms, offices, cars, and walking down the street.  Technology has only enhanced our sense of self and further weakened our sense of community.  This is surely not good news for a Gospel which promises and provides the ultimate community in terms of our relationship to God in Christ and to one another through Him.


Anonymous said...

Some good points. How often have we figured out we could do something without considering the ethics of whether we should do it.

We need to be able to keep our heads in the game and find those uses of technology which benefit what we already do. I just shared an Issues Etc episode on facebook. We have Sing the Faith on said iPods.

And yet, we as parents need to set limits. Time on the TV, the Wii, the computer, and the iPod are all limited, and we use timers when kids can't limit themselves (frequently!) :)

Anonymous said...

Pastor Peters,

I hope someday you would lead a session on this topic at a Higher Things conference. Young people are looking for guidance in these areas. The want community but the examples in the world are not very helpful. You have such great insights and communicate so well, maybe you will consider sharing with a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between
technology that makes our lives more
comfortable and fun and high tech
inventions that help the proclamation
of the gospel.

The church has to wisely assess what
can be used to advance the gospel
to a broken world.

Anonymous said...

Jeff's Issues Etc. Blog of the Week 8-5-2011

Anonymous said...

Technology can't outrun the young!

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