Friday, October 8, 2021

Another rite. . .

As everyone knows, boomers have taken over Facebook and everyone younger has moved on -- many to Tik Tok.  It is sort of a video Twitter -- few characters, brief, and heavy on the visual.  It is both informational and entertainment.  Perhaps we might invent a new rite for the Divine Service -- a Tik Tok rite.  Brief, visual, and with few words, it would probably end up more law than gospel.  But that has always been the Achilles' heel of the internet.  It is good at judgment -- much better than encouragement and eve when it makes a statement, that statement is often taken as judgment.  It is like YouTube with a character and time limit.  So what can the Church do with such a platform.  I hope not much.

We are constantly urged to get on board and ride the beginning of the technology wave but at what cost?  Could it be that the best thing we could do is to be slow and deliberate in our use of social media platforms and embracing the newest formats being offered to us?   The reality is that our quickness to embrace some of these media only taints the Gospel with the weaknesses of these media.  Because our people do not know the difference between what is virtual and real, what is true and false, and what is trustworthy and what is not, adding the Gospel to this uncertainty undermines the credibility of that Gospel.

Furthermore, there is so much information available and our people are so overwhelmed with information they neither need nor can use, adding the Gospel to that information, passively received, places that Gospel in a category that undermines its very purpose and benefit.  We need to be careful because the world is on information overload and adding to that overload will not itself help them to know Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection.

While it would be foolish to say that there is no benefit to online preaching and teaching, we must admit that these are not at all the same as in person.  It may be obvious that baptism and Holy Communion cannot be received online, it is no less true that confession and absolution and preaching are not the same when viewed on a screen and/or heard in the ear as they are in person.  Trying to compress the Gospel to fit the character limits of these platforms or to choose one brief image to summarize everything that happens in the Divine Service confuses more than it clarifies.  If we are to use some of these media we must be very careful.

Finally, it does the Church and the faith no good to simply pass on the stock images and sayings that have circulated all over.  The Church will do best to develop a brand and style that is consistent with who they are in person and what they believe, teach, and confess.  The Church will do best to pick and choose media that can be used effectively and with integrity rather than trying to use every medium or simply reposting what is on one platform everywhere.

No comments: