Culture At Large

Let the Luddites Rejoice

Chris Salzman

The Thin Edge has a reflection on how much our church services rely on technology:

This past Sunday in Wales, a group of elders gathered at their church building to pray. The ancient stone chapel had been without heating since a group of construction workers shut off the gas supply to the building earlier in the week, then forgot to turn it back on for the weekend. It was judged to be too cold for the morning worship service—scheduled two hours later—so the local telephone lines began blazing with elders contacting members of the church leadership team, who contacted small group leaders, who contacted everyone within their house group. It was decided to meet at an older (and smaller, but warmer) chapel building nearby. I’m not sure if the elders got to pray or not.
Unfortunately, this change of venue caught a lot of people by surprise: especially the church’s musicians, sound engineers, computer operators and the preacher. His entire message was developed as a laptop-based, visually-oriented PowerPoint presentation. Upon arrival at the old building, it was abuzz with people frantically running wires and junction boxes and speakers and a massive sound board so that the keyboard, instruments, singers, and the preacher could be heard in a room that only measured eighteen hundred square feet.
Some of the greatest movements of God happened long before the discovery of electricity, much less the arrival of computer geniuses like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. While I certainly don’t advocate wearing camel’s hair and eating wild locusts and honey, I have to wonder how many worship gatherings this coming Sunday would fall flat if some natural disaster shut down the national grids of electric power in megawatt-hungry church buildings around the globe.

Personally, I kind of like it when things go wrong during worship services. It thrusts our fallibility to the forefront, which is always humbling.

Do you have any great "technological failures in church" stories you'd like to share? What do you think of our reliance on technology? And probably most importantly is this question from The Thin Edge: "Are we more sensitive to the loss of electricity than the presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings?"

Other thoughts?

Topics: Culture At Large, Science & Technology, Technology, Theology & The Church, Worship