The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. -Psalm 46:6

“false sense of participation”

Posted: July 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “false sense of participation”

An interesting analysis of the role of the Internet in the 2008 Presidential elections. One key observation:

In our analysis of nationally-representative survey data, in comparison to traditional newspaper reading and “real world” political discussion, online media use had limited impacts on learning and on actual political participation. Perhaps worse, despite limited gains in knowledge and actual participation, heavier online media users were more likely to believe that they were making a difference in politics. As we concluded, this “false sense of participation” among heavier online users may actually distract them from outlets for real-world interaction and participation where they could make a difference.

Transpose this from the political arena to the even more personal realm of faith and I suspect the assessment of the impact of online activity would be no more sanguine.


“not more machinery or better”

Posted: July 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “not more machinery or better”

From Power through Prayer, by E. M. Bounds (1835-1913):

We are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel. This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the plan or organization. God’s plan is to make much of the man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.” The dispensation that heralded and prepared the way for Christ was bound up in that man John. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” The world’s salvation comes out of that cradled Son. When Paul appeals to the personal character of the men who rooted the gospel in the world, he solves the mystery of their success. The glory and efficiency of the gospel is staked on the men who proclaim it. When God declares that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him,” he declares the necessity of men and his dependence on them as a channel through which to exert his power upon the world. This vital, urgent truth is one that this age of machinery is apt to forget. The forgetting of it is as baneful on the work of God as would be the striking of the sun from his sphere. Darkness, confusion, and death would ensue.

What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.

(link)


“the church should not lag behind”

Posted: July 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “the church should not lag behind”

I came across this blog entry on Media\Outreach and, based upon the featured photo ([previously] included below), assumed it viewed the church + Twitter phenomenon with some skepticism. Alas.

Once again, I found articulated the rarely questioned premise of so many arguments as to the urgency of the Church’s adoption of some new technology:

While the technology world is racing to find the latest trend in social networking, the church should not lag behind. It’s about going into the world and meeting people where they are…even if it’s in a virtual community group.

There is some truth to this mindset, but it is a truth that rings fairly hollow when we assess how well the Church has done in meeting people within walking distance of its campuses and the homes of its members, or the people in its local prisons, shelters and hospitals or the children and single parents from broken families. It rings hollow, too, in view of the fact that the Church often lives in a manner barely distinguishable from the broader society, except perhaps in the flavor of sanctimony it displays. (For example, why are divorce statistics no better within the Church?)

I find this “meeting people” rationale pretty lame. I think it is offered as cover for half-assed obedience to the Great Commission (which calls for making disciples, not just FB friends and Twitter followers) from the convenience and safety of our flickering devices (which, by the way, are available and useful to a small and absurdly privileged segment of society.)

[Image removed at the request of, and with apologies to, one of the bloggers at mediaoutreach.com, who felt that directly linking the image here was stealing his bandwidth. The full URL to the entry containing the image–also linked above–is http://mediaoutreach.com/2009/06/twitter-and-the-church/.]


“standards for technological innovation”

Posted: July 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “standards for technological innovation”

In a piece entitled “Why I Am Not Going To Buy A Computer,” published originally in Harper’s and later in the compendium What Are People For?, Wendell Berry sets forth his personal criteria for the adoption of new technology.

To make myself as plain as I can, I should give my standards for technological innovation in my own work. They are as follows:

1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.

Even if, like me and a great many of my contemporaries, you find these strictures implausible, you might see how they reveal the bias toward, the prerogative of, new technology in our culture. To the extent you find one or more of Berry’s criteria unrealistic, ask yourself why technology trumps.


technology defined

Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on technology defined

“Technology is a word that describes something that doesn’t work yet.” – Douglas Adams


The Onion strikes again: “Report: 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles”

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Onion strikes again: “Report: 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles”

Another gem from The Onion.


Horton on Osteen: “my happiness vs. God’s holiness”

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Horton on Osteen: “my happiness vs. God’s holiness”

Michael Horton offers an excerpt from his Joel Osteen and the Glory Story: A Case Study.  I offer an excerpt from the excerpt:

This gospel of “submission,” “commitment,” “decision,” and “having a personal relationship with God” fails to realize, first of all, that everyone has a personal relationship with God already: either as a condemned criminal standing before a righteous judge or as a justified co-heir with Christ and adopted child of the Father. “How can I be right with God?” is no longer a question when my happiness rather than God’s holiness is the main issue. My concern is that Joel Osteen is simply the latest in a long line of self-help evangelists who appeal to the native American obsession with pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Salvation is not a matter of divine rescue from the judgment that is coming on the world, but a matter of self-improvement in order to have your best life now.


“we live not from work”

Posted: June 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “we live not from work”

“Our activity can promise us everything and make us forget God. Therefore God commands us to rest from our work. It is not work that supports us but God alone; we live not from work, but from God alone. . . . The Sabbath rest is the visible sign that human beings live by the grace of God and not by works.”

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer


“noise, hurry and crowds”

Posted: June 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “noise, hurry and crowds”

“In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.”

– Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline


“Worship vs Concert”

Posted: June 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Worship vs Concert”

This blog entry from Worship through Visual Media offers some sense of the extent to which the debate over new media in the Church is premised on sketchy assumptions concerning the nature and purpose of worship.

There is nothing wrong (in my opinion) with playing a tasteful main stream song in a service (if it has a point). Even if that point is just to connect with someone. You just have to be sure that it is in the right place in your service. The way I see it you play a secular song or an up beat song first. Get people clapping, having a good time, feeling connected and then you ease them into the slower, more thought provoking songs. That is what I mean by balance. You start with a song that connects with a wide range of people and ease it down form there. So it is not a shock to the system or a complete turn off to those new to your crowd. Let me stop here and say that if everything leading up to that first song is not set up to make the person feel welcome and comfortable then you have already lost the battle, no matter what music you play. Read the rest of this entry »