This morning’s Washington Post has a front page story on the role of technology in churches, though the article is long on its role in worship and almost silent on its role in education, administration or mission. Still, it brings up the contradiction that the use of wireless connectivity, broadcast and projectors — as described by proponents and detractors — focuses or distracts worshipers.
I think some of these protests are more than a century too late. Revival-based American Evangelical Christianity and its descendants have liturgically and architecturally focused so much on the person of the minister (and choir) that the criticisms of today’s tech adopters seems like sour grapes. Didn’t get your overhead projector in twenty years ago? I think. It’ll cost you to catch up.
If a bandstand-like church then, why not a concert or television studio today?Â That said, I don’t go to that kind of church. But the liberals have sometimes done the same thing: read lyceum for bandstand. (Unitarian and Universalist changes, since World War Two, have muted this experience. But don’t get me started with that Unitarian standby, “fiddle and lecture.”)
Oh, and I’ve never understood the liturgical fixation so many Unitarian Universalist ministers have on the act of the offering. I doubt it is a foundational liturgical practice, knowing how churches were funded in the past. Certainly not a stellar idea with our crippling history around money and class, and the inconvenience and liability of handling the cash and checks.Â I’ll take direct deposit any day. More about that later.
As usual, feel free to comment.
“Worship Goes Big-Screen and Hi-Fi, With Direct-Deposit Tithing” (Washington Post) by Virgil Dickson and Catherine Rampell