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The modern worship experience: Text, tweet and please log on to 2 Thessalonians? Июль 2, 2009

Posted by Alyosha Kolodiy in Актуальная проблема -problem of today, Новости - News, eMagazines.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Abilene Reporter-News had an interesting story last week about worshipers bringing their iPhones and Blackberrys to church:

Southern Hills Church of Christ minister Phil Ware can gaze out into the aisles and see more than a few members of his church bathed in a familiar, digital radiance.

The gleam comes from smart phones in their hands, but church-goers aren’t tuning out Ware or whoever is preaching.

“When it gets a little darker, you can look around and see these little glows where people are using their mobile devices to look up Bible passages,” he said.

As the story explains, members aren’t using the phones to send text messages to friends during the sermon. Instead, they’re taking notes and accessing online versions of the Bible. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

Seriously, I am one who finds the Bible on my iPhone so convenient. Outside of church, I do most of my Bible reading that way because my iPhone fits so conveniently in my hand, and the ancient words seem to jump to life in a hip new technology. But on Sunday, I take my regular Bible to church and — when the preacher refers to it — act like finding Habakkuk amid a few thousand razor-thin pages is no problem for me.

But I can imagine a point in the future — perhaps the not-so-distant future — where online Bible reading becomes more widely understood. Maybe then I could use my iPhone at church without offending too many of my brothers and sisters.

Then again, I have to ask, would the temptation to check my e-mail or change my Facebook status be too great if the sermon drifted off into a, shall we say, less than compelling mode?

Is there something more sacred about God’s Word on a simple sheet of paper than on a computer screen? Oklahoma Christian University professor and Christian Chronicle editor emeritus Bailey McBride shared with Tamie recently that he has 30-plus Bibles in his office, ones he has collected over the years, and he shares them with students who read their Bibles exclusively online. He wants students to have the experience, too, of holding the Word in their hands.

At what point does the technology become too much?

(Veering off point for a moment, you’ll recall that in our list a few years ago of ways to tell you might be a Church of Christ member, this was one of them: “If you think ‘progressive’ refers to those in the church who want a sound system and PowerPoint.” Sorry, the question about technology reminded me of that.)

Back on point: I have written in my Christian Chronicle column and on this blog about some of the ministry and faith benefits of online social networking.

However, I am not certain I want Don Vinzant, Kent Risley or Randy Roper (the ministers at my home congregation) taking questions from the pews via Twitter, as some pastors across the nation are doing.


Time magazine reports:

In Seattle, Mars Hill churchgoers regularly tweet throughout the service. In New York City, Trinity Church marked Good Friday by tweeting the Passion play, detailing the stages of Jesus’ crucifixion in short bursts. At Next Level Church, outside Charlotte, N.C., it’s not only O.K. to fuse social-networking technology with prayer; it’s desirable.

On Easter Sunday, pastor Todd Hahn prefaced his sermon by saying, “I hope many of you are tweeting this morning about your experience with God.”

In a freelance article for Religion News Service, my Facebook friend Amy Green also explores The Gospel According to Twitter:

Tweeting during church? Isn’t it rude?

David Loveless doesn’t think so. Loveless is lead pastor of Discovery Church , a nondenominational congregation that draws about 4,000 on Sundays to three locations in Orlando.

The congregation always has thrived on the cutting edge, becoming among the first to embrace contemporary music and remove its steeple from its building.

Now the congregation is tweeting — using 21st-century technology to discuss the gospel in 140-character cell-phone text updates sent via Twitter.

I could go on, but I’d rather hear from you.

Do you use your smart phone during church? If so, how? If not, are you irritated by people who do?

Do you have any desire to tweet questions or observations to the preacher during the sermon? If you are the preacher, do you see any potential for immediate feedback via text-messages or tweets while you’re at the pulpit?

— Bobby

• • •

If you haven’t seen this video with Mrs. Bobbie explaining the Sunset Church of Christ Web site, you MUST check it out!



1. Anton - Июль 9, 2009

Is this is the original article? I can’t find the link… anyway, good thoughts, but more as observations rather than any kind of fruitful conclusions.

«He wants students to have the experience, too, of holding the Word in their hands. At what point does the technology become too much?» — cutting down the trees, producing paper, printing the Bible text, binding it and attaching a cover, plus all the logistics, management and marketing involved, are all extremely technological processes nowadays. One holds a printed book, another holds an electronic reader with the digital book inside. Which one is more hi-tech?

The difference is negligible, perhaps non-existent.

If somebody stops paying attention to a sermon — it doesn’t matter whether they pretend to continue to listen, or start doing something on their phone.

The whole point is purely academic, and has nothing to do with human nature or the nature of the service. As long as there is church on Earth, there will be people who read the Bible, and there will be those who don’t. Regardless of the media the Bible is recorded / displayed on.

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