Discovering the hidden way technology shapes us is a bit like being the victim of a prank: We feel humiliated and trapped. When I first began studying media influence, I felt like the fish oblivious to the hook inside the worm. Fortunately, however, nothing is inevitable. There is not some predetermined and unstoppable effect of all media. In fact, the chair will continue to be pulled out from under us only if we remain unthinking. Our lack of awareness is what empowers the media to bully us.
Category Archives: technology
Terry Storch gave a talk at MinistryCOM 2007 entitled “Communication Revolution.” In this talk he highlights how our culture is slamming into the traditional ideas of the way churches operate. He list the top five impact points as:
1) One Way Communication vs. Participatory Conversation – No longer is the expectation that you will tell me what I need to know. I want to be part of discovering what I need to know.
2) Service Times vs. On-Demand Content – Our world will not wait for us. They want the content when they want it. We need to provide access so that can interact with content at point-of-need.
3) Walls vs. People – We have tended to think about church inside the building. We need to move the practice of church out into the community.
4) Going to Communities vs.Being in Communities – The way we think about missions and outreach needs change. We need to change from going to communities to becoming involved in the communities we want to reach with the Gospel.
5) Asking People to Just Invite One vs. The Power of One Inviting Everyone – Addition through just bringing one friend is not overcoming the attrition churches are experiencing. We live in age when one person can invite so many more to experience Christ. We need to find and equip those people.
The adage that computers do not impose their ways upon their users is misleading, because it hides an imposing destiny in a guise of instrumental neutrality. By reassuring ourselves that the computer does not impose its ways upon us, we have already succumbed to the imposition of its destiny. The computer, for example, promises greater freedom in creating and organizing data in accordance with our goals and purposes. Yet computers can only be used in a limited number of ways for creating, storing and classifying this information, thereby forming the goals and purposes that it purportedly serves in an instrumental manner. The resulting ‘freedom’ is illusory, because the computer, like any technology, constrains the range of choices its users can make within the limited parameters of its imposed destiny. More broadly, particular technological developments and application permit certain forms of civil society and political community while excluding others.
While God’s words are eternal and unchanging the tools we use to access those words do change, and those changes in technology also bring subtle changes to the practice of worship. When we fail to recognize the impact of such technological change, we run the risk of allowing our tools to dictate our methods. Technology should not dictate our values or our methods. Rather, we must use technology out of our convictions and values.