Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Serve God Save the Planet Ch. 4 Technology, Social Networking and Babel Tower

I know, I'm behind the 8 ball as usual. I don't blog on the latest publications, I'm something like 5 years behind getting to this book. Why chapter four? that is where it started to get interesting for me.

'We have forgotten that we have far more in common with the honeybee than we do with our SUV of DVD...Do you know in which direction the Milky Way traverses the sky? As the phases of the moon progress, does the light go from right to left, or left to right? Can you identify a greater number of trees or cars? If the Bible says God knows every flower and bird, why do we spend so much effort knowing the names of man-made items. Maybe we're paying attention to the wrong things.' (60-61)

Matthew Sleeth, MD

Should the church and its leaders be embracing technology, devoting time, energy and financial resource, to facebook pages, websites, twitter and worship services that feature prominently videos and images, OR, should we be presenting a respite from all this technology and an alternative way of being together. I know, I sound like a Luddite.

What I think is beautifully done in Sleeth's book is that he manages to do some really interesting exegesis, as I will show in future posts, give some really creative options for becoming more environmentally conscious, and he also tackles food ethics, consumerism and our technologically obsessed culture. And he shows quite clearly how they all are connected.

In this case our increasingly technologically focused lives are also using more and more electricity, getting less exercise and spending less time with the people and the creation God created us to relate to in order to be fully human (he says, typing on his laptop, while his kids play DS).

I think Sleeth is suggesting that all of our obsession with cell phones, social networking, video games, etc, takes our attention away from the things that really keep us connected to our humanity, such as the world that God created for us to live in. Could all of this technology, social networking, ipod-ing, Word-of-Warcrafting, be a Babel Tower we are constructing, hoping to reach the heavens, when the connection to God we need is right in the backyard?

And if so, is the church really presenting an alternative to this idolatry it if follows suit by using more and more technology in worship, in ministry?

So I again I ask, should the church jump into all this technology or abstain from it? Is there a middle way?

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