Nov 4, 2010

Christians and Technology: Part 1

We've all been there before...

You're in a meeting with a people around a table where there's an animated discussion taking place and someone's phone rings. Nothing strange about that. That happens all the time.

Everyone knows what's supposed to happen next. The person is supposed to find his/her phone, turn off the ringer and then turn off the phone, and apologize for interrupting the meeting while everyone else digs through their pockets/purses/briefcases/backpacks and turns off their phones.

However, this time, the person doesn't turn off the ringer. They don't turn off the phone. They answer the phone and then starts to have a conversation on the phone while the meeting's still going on, while people are still trying to talk to one another and have meaningful conversation.

We all know that this is rude. We would never do such a thing.

Although we would never talk on the phone in a meeting, or in worship service, etc. most of us think nothing of tweeting, facebooking, and texting during meetings, worship, over conversations, etc.

I was recently in a meeting where we covenanted with one another to turn off our electronics so that we could fully be present for one another in the room. I have to confess that it was hard for me. I typically have my smartphone, ipad, and laptop all running facebook and twitter while my phone is constantly receiving texts and emails.

What does this saying about our understanding of community? About presence? About attention.

How should Christians use technology differently because Jesus is Lord?

Even if Jesus were walking the planet earth in the year 2010, I don't think Jesus would have been messing around with his blackberry or iphone while he was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well. Wherever Jesus was, he was fully present with the people there. And presence is one of the most important gifts we can give to each other in community.

What is the proper Christian ethic for twitter, facebook, and texting in community?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I will post my thoughts on this tomorrow.


teacher_deb said...

Please Think back to when you gave everyone the opportunity to text someone from Church saying wish you were here.. I think that is a start.. as for meetings and places where we need to "be with each Other" maybe there is a new way to think baout it.. a new ettiquete.. not sure yet..We have too many people who are on the outside of the circle of electronics anyway that we need to be senetive to their feelings about what we are doing....

deborah hollifield said...

Our (and our children's) passion (addiction?) for electronics also steals time that we might have otherwise filled with activities that foster relationship and community: taking walks together, cooking with the kids, meditating on Scripture,'s as though electronics have taken up an emotional space alongside money as the thing that is either a good tool or an idol that we allow to displace alarms that go off in church at the stroke of noon...folks who stay home from church because the game is on TV...parents who let the TV raise their kids...I think if God was writing a modern purity code, there would be "clean" and "unclean" ways to use technology.