Category Archives: Technology

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In the aftermath of the Flight 370 crash, news outlets and culture at large have been captivated by the story.  Given the rapid developments of world news and the short attention span of 24-7 news channels, it is all the more surprising that channels like CNN have focused (roughly 90-95%) on this story for roughly three weeks.  Meanwhile, discussions regarding Russia and Crimea were mentioned for “just a second” (in the words of one CNN anchor) prior to returning back to Flight 370.

In light of this immense amount of attention, we can draw some observations that teach us about humanity.  What follows are several reasons why this story has been so captivating:

 

  • We wonder about the future. Many of us fly, and we worry about our safety.  We are partly captivated for selfish reasons — evident by the fact that most of our attention has been on the plane rather than the victims.  This is most evident when news anchors use the word “exciting” when describing finding debris and/or wreckage.

 

  • We recognize (yet doubt) the limitations of technology.  Part of our fascination results from the disbelief that cell phones, satellites, and radar cannot give us an immediate answer.  We find it hard to believe that part of the world is beyond our knowledge.

 

  • We feel loss with fellow human beings.  Despite the fact that we probably do not know anyone on board, we sympathize with those who are hurting.  Seeing family members wail over their loved ones resonates deep within us.

 

  • We believe that humanity will rise.  People want a resolution (e.g., finding debris being called “hope”) to be assured that humanity will overcome our pain and our ignorance.  We may have lost 239 lives, but our investigation may save hundreds of lives in the future.

Crop Wheat Field 11

Simply defined, preaching is the intentional proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.

As proclamation, preaching occurs at a particular time, in a particular place, to a particular audience.  Preaching requires that someone is listening, and it requires presence and immediacy that is unique compared to other forms of communication, such as a printed book or a video recording.  Put another way, preaching requires particularity.

General or archived sermons (such as those used by satellite churches) serve a purpose, but do not qualify as preaching in the holistic sense.   Such sermons do not address the particular needs of a particular congregation, which is composed of particular individuals at a particular time.  As such, these sermons address general needs, but never address the particular needs of a particular people.

Crop Wheat Field 11As Haddon Robinson once wrote, “In the Gospels we see that Christ never dealt with two people the same way… A sermon full of generalities hits no one in particular.”  (The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching, 117)  In other words, Jesus recognized that preaching involves not only words, but the people being addressed.  There is particularity when Jesus speaks, and preachers today should recognize how our Lord and Savior proclaimed the good news of His Kingdom.

Preaching is not a relic, nor an object for electronic archive, but an event that takes place in real-time and real space.

 

 

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As Christians, we should have a modest view of technology within the context of ministry – not too lofty and not too lowly. In itself, technology does not have the power to change lives, but God can use technology (such as the printing press) to further His kingdom. We live in a unique age that requires a theology of technology, and we need to think before we embrace whatever is before us.

Rather than overdosing on technology, the Church should use it strategically. Some tools can save time, which in effect can produce more time to interact in person. Some tools can help us reach more people, which can start new relationships for the sake of glorifying God. But of course, these tools need to be used in moderation and within reason.

A unique feature of the digital age is that technology is available on a massive scale – not only who can own it, but where it can be used. Unlike the days of the printing press or even dial-up modems, new technologies are “omnipresent” in the sense that they travel with us in our pockets. Tragically, despite all of the contributions of the digital age, our gadgetry has led to the idolization of technology. Millions of people worship the newest device, while their other god(s) are quickly forgotten.

To avoid such idolatry, we must use technology for our purposes – and to prevent technology from using us. Like craftsmen, we need to master our tools, so that they can be used effectively for the kingdom. As with any tool, technology should be used in a way that helps rather than complicates. This requires thought and planning.

Here are a few ways that technology can be used in quick and easily manageable ways:

Evangelism/Outreach
• Spark conversation with a thoughtful quotation
• Respond to current events with a Christian worldview
• Share web links that are encouraging and gospel-influenced
• Introduce your church with a video
• Raise funds for social outreach efforts
• Praise God for what He is doing in your life
• Invite locals to a church event
• Advertise community events (e.g., a food drive)
• Tell the community about changed lives!

Discipleship
• Suggest Scripture passages to read
• Start an online discussion
• Invite members to an upcoming event
• Alert members to important prayer requests
• Encourage your congregation during the week
• Post videos about social justice issues
• Share what God is doing in your life
• Respond to others’ posts with Christian love and biblical truth

Clearly, this list is not exhaustive, but such ideas show that technology can be gospel-driven and glorifying to God. As a general rule, we should avoid technology that glorifies ourselves, and instead, strive to honor God. This is not always easy, but according to 1 Corinthians 10:31, this is what we are called to do in every area of life.