Banff churches, technology, & the Twitter Olympics

The “Twitter Olympics”?  Apparently that’s what the current Olympic Games are being called.   I guess thousands upon thousands, including some of the athletes, are tweeting on a regular basis about everything from the events themselves to the scandals to the TV coverage to the outfits to London’s handling of the Games to Mitt Romney’s faux pas’.

Do you tweet?  I confess I don’t.  I don’t consider myself anti-social but I don’t tweet or post or blog (unless as part of a seminary course) and I have no desire to do so. I joined Facebook about four years ago but closed my account after receiving dozens of “so and so wants to be your friend…” notifications, one particular “friend” contact from a guy I knew in Junior High which gave me the creeps.  It seemed to me at the time that Facebook would require far too much computer time from me in just responding to emails, etc. when the last thing I needed in my life were more emails! I joined Linked-In about two years ago but I’m not sure why. I don’t want to be more linked-in than I already am. So clearly, as you will have guessed, I’m not tweeting about the Olympics. I’d rather watch the events replayed, or the highlights, on our HDTV at night before going to bed than gossip about whatever on the Internet.

This may sound grumpy, and somewhat out-of-touch, but have we lost something through our sometimes excessive reliance on technology? The ability to communicate politely, perhaps, for one thing? To disagree amicably? To listen quietly, patiently, while a friend finishes his/her sentence? To engage in somewhat intelligent, respectful  conversation when actually face to face with another? The Bible has nothing to say about web sites and blogging, of course, but as people whose primary reason for being connected has to do with a common faith as well as identification with a church which we often refer to as a community of faith, ought we not be wary of the dangers of too much technology? If our calling is, partly at least, to be in community with one another, can we really do it via Twitter? Perhaps I am really out-of-touch because I know some of you will answer “yes” to that question. I don’t think we can.

It’s interesting to note that atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists of our time have actually discovered or realized “community” via the Internet. Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor, has commented on this relatively new development: “The Internet has become the de facto global church for atheists, agnostics and other doubters of God, who of course don’t have bricks and mortar churches in which to congregate… Recent strings of posts around the question of “Where was God in Aurora?” drew especially large waves of comments that show atheists are using the Internet to commune with one another and to confront religious believers in ways that they don’t usually do in church.” But is this really community?

So maybe I’m a bit of a dinosaur, even though I use email frequently, notably in using this technology to send out the “weekly devotionals”. I simply leave you with these thoughts: despite the advantages of modern communication technology, Skype for example, can our excessive use of such technology in fact increase the distance between us rather than bring us closer together? How many hours a day do you spend on email, Facebook, tweeting, blogging, etc., and is that a cause for concern? How might we use or choose not to use technology in our discipleship, as we seek to follow Jesus, serve God, and let God’s grace flow from us?

 

Rev. Dave Crawford is the minister at one of the Banff churches, Rundle Memorial United. Learn more about our current activities, our Thrift Shop, and how to get married in Banff.

Comments

  1. While I agree that too much technology isn’t a good thing, I would say that about too much of anything. I think technology can be what we make it, and it’s up to us to make technology use reasonable, responsible, and meaningful. I think all of that is possible, we just have to be willing to try.

    New technology can take a while to get used to and to figure out how to best use it, but from where I come from I think it’s important not to write things off just because right now many people may not be making the best use of them.

  2. Not sure you got the point Allan.
    It’s not about learning how to better use technology but rather how existing technology and that still to come may in fact hamper the functioning of ‘community’ as the word pertains to the church’s conception of itself as a community of faith. In some ways tech is helpful, in other ways not so much.

    • Totally. Not all technology is helpful, especially not all the time. I still think it’s about learning how to use the technology though. Not in the technical sense, but in the ‘how does this technology work for our community’ sense. But then I’m a geek who likes technology, I’m open to being wrong.