The Internet is The Church's New Drug of Choice

The Internet can be many things to many people.  Can it be the drug of choice today or is that to harsh a term to describe what we as a society have done with the Internet?

Most of the time we have a negative connotation associated with a “drug”, but drugs can be just as positive as negative, especially when one company has promoted their product as the “wonder drug” of all time.  One legal definition puts it like this:

Some governments define the term drug by law. In the United States, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act definition of “drug” includes “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals” and “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.

This is one of those random blog posts I couldn’t decide if I wanted to dive into or not, but I am going to do it anyway.  I started writing this several weeks ago but it culminated this week with a conversation I had with the worship leader (photo shown above) here and moved into the finer point of Calvinism (if only we actually had time to just sit and discuss these things).  And that is… what is the Internet doing to fellowship and how does it change how we read Hebrews 10:25 (in context) that says: “25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another€”and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

If you are reading my blog and are not a Believer, then insert “social skills or socializing” in place of fellowship, but for the rest of us, what does it mean to move our worship and other networking (i.e. fellowship) to the Internet?  This is what I envision when we combine the greatness of the Internet with the Bride of Christ.  Something totally awesome if I can still use that phrase, but how careful are we to not be slowly creating a generation of Internet only Believers that don’t know how to, want to, or even care anything about fellowship?

The ultimate online church campus right now is but this week I was really excited to watch the initial launch of the iCampus for NewSpring as posted on ChurchCrunch (read NewSpring Church Launches iCampus BETA).   I was so excited to see NewSpring launch a full blown service that I could sit here in my office and watch Sunday evening from a church in Greenville I have never been to (but will in about a month) and feel like I was part of the service, but was I really part of the service?

The questions that ran through my mind when talking to other about where the church is going through technology goes something like this:

  1. What about those Believers who really don’t like to fellowship in the first place, or worse, highly dislike it?  To say “they should” is what I would equate to saying a gay Christian just shouldn’t be gay (from Anne’s post Why is being gay a sin?).  Can we look at the issue seriously and not just say “because the Bible said so”.  I know that, but that often doesn’t change a person’s behavior or attitude.
  2. How do we fulfill Hebrews 10:25 online?  Can we fulfill Hebrews 10:25 through only online means?
  3. Can we effectively fellowship with others online?  I have gotten to know quite a few people online I have never met in person?
  4. What about those church-a-phobics (that would be the opposite of church-a-holics)?  How do you get people in the building when they highly dislike (hate) the thought of “going to church” but will engage online?
  5. What intentional steps do we take to move from online fellowship to discipleship?  Are we being intentional about the steps we take to pull people to our online venues in the name of Christ?

These are just a few, but serious questions to me, and quite personal.  I have asked myself these and many other questions for many many years and I will continue to try to find where technology fits into God’s kingdom.  It is not just something the church can ignore, or misuse.  In some respects, it is the future of the Church.  Thoughts?

Who Inspired Your Life Today, Anyone?

It seems that January has gotten off to a nitro-fueled pace.  We started this new series (Alive) that I am personally already struggling to keep up with.  Anyone else?  It is about mid-week in the first week in January so I figured by now almost everyone has given up on some of their “new years resolutions”, but in light of my post yesterday on how to be creative, I tried to keep my own list in my mind as I went through the day.

So who inspired me us to be creative today?  For me, I started off the day with an unbelievable speaker, Eddie Gran, the former running back coach from Auburn.  He spent much of his career with Tommy Tubberville from Miami to Ole Miss, to Auburn, and of course in light of the current coaching situation is looking for a job. He presented a great testimony which I know had to inspire many who were able to come hear him speak.

Was I able to achieve any creativity on my own.  Who knows.  I wanted to dive deep into my own journal, take some photos, and listen to some new music, but for this day, here is my short list of others who gave me some inspiration for the day.

The last one requires a little explanation.  I am amazed at how I keep learning from my mother-in-law.  Since her death in April I have been pouring over here journals she wrote when she lived in Europe.  She did what most of us are trying to do now with the Alive series, write.  I have been putting her journal one day at a time in a blog called My Life in France.

I sit here and wonder what is or isn’t acceptable in worship.  Why do we do this or that, why don’t we do this or that.  Her entry in her journal today was short, and to the point, and really hit the spot.  This is what she wrote on February 2, 1992:

No English speaking churches in Verdun so we drove to the American Cemetery located in St. Mihiel, France (where 4,000 Americans from the war are buried) and had our own private worship in the chapel there.

Now that is inspiring, at least to me.

Do I Get in Synch With God as Much as My iPhone?

Am I the only one that takes a picture of his iPhone while it is syncing and wonders how or why I don’t do this as often with God?  I took this photo this afternoon while waiting on my phone and of course started daydreaming.  I hate it when the things of this world intrude and seem to take precedence over our walk with God but they do, and little stupid things like this photo remind me I need to stay plugged into and in sync with God more often than with my stupid phone (yes I said stupid twice in one sentence).

What does staying in sync with God mean to you? Conversation, prayer, study, fellowship… when we sync our phones we are transferring data from a main source (usually a computer) to a device (this case an iPhone) and back again. Wouldn’t that be cool if we could plug ourselves into God and he could just transfer all the data down to us and we could send Him up all our changes we made while on the move? I think we can, and do, we just may do it in many different ways, some that other people don’t recognize, don’t agree with, or understand, but we can all still plug into God can’t we?