After reading through John Dyer’s From the Garden to the City with the rest of the ChurchMag community, I have begun to realize that I might have a problem with technology. Now, when I start to “slide to unlock,” I think twice about why and whether I should. Am I alone in this? Probably not.
Aside from helping me to identify some of my issues with technology, John’s book—which you should read—has opened my eyes to see how many of us in ministry have begun to serve two gods—Jesus and technology. Technism, as John called it in his book, is reliance upon technology in place of God. If we are honest with ourselves, this is very possible in our technology-saturated world.
Let’s look at two major areas where we can easily identify and should certainly address the false god of technology in the local Church.
Obviously, as Christians, we are to avoid sin. But what is sin? For brevity’s sake, let’s define sin as “anything that pollutes the soul, harms the body, offends the brethren, and/or prevents us from pursuing God and His Kingdom.” If that definition is acceptable to you, let me ask you this: how do we handle an addiction to technology?
Addictions hit every category of our definition. They often fill our hearts and minds with thoughts and feelings that do not honor God, take our lives/bodies out of balance, cause us to withdraw from or hurt others, and distract us from worshipping God. Addictions are sin, and yet we all know of some individuals in our Churches who are addicted to Facebook games or tweeting or texting, etc. How do we handle this? In my church—and in many others, I’m sure—the problem is largely ignored. But how long can that go on in an era when marriages are disposable and children are being raised by YouTube and Facebook? As it is, far too many of us are consumed with our “virtual” lives to the destruction of our “real” lives.
Programs for Power
Technism as we already said is putting our faith in technology in place of God. No one would ever say that they trust their iPhone to save them from their sins, and yet how many pastors and leaders put their faith in programs and processes and three-phase plans that have nothing to do with trusting God?
In my own church, we’re desperately trying to “close the back door,” to stem the tide of newcomers who leave within their first year. While there is nothing wrong with this, most of our attempts at solving this problem involve more programming and more planning. This is where technism can creep up on us, as we put more effort into crafting a solution with our own strength rather than by trusting God for the solution.
Not a Conclusion
Has the Church fallen over the edge and embraced the false faith of technism? No, but just as we are to take stock of our own thought lives and make any rebellious thought obedient to Christ, so should the Church be vigilant about its acceptance of and reliance upon technology. This isn’t much of a conclusion, but then again I’m not concluding my analysis of my church or my own heart. That’s why I truly don’t have any solutions as of yet. But maybe you’re already ahead of me on this? Do you see any other issues that I may have missed or am I over thinking all of this? Do you have an idea of how to stave off and perhaps push back the advance of technism within the Church? Let me know in the comments.
[Image via Quinn Dombrowski]