I was intrigued by the content of my “Media and the Public” class yesterday, especially as it applies to blogging. I wrote a post which mysteriously disappeared about it yesterday, so I’ll try and replicate the best parts now.
Professor Shultz was telling us about the way technology is often viewed as salvific – the way new technologies have always been trumpeted as the way to save humanity, either in the humanistic sense or the evangelistic sense. Entire books were written on the way the telegraph would create “The Electric church” and that printing and distribution would make the US wholly Christian.
Of course, these technological advances made some things easier for us, but in other ways created whole new problems. Instead of one united American church, there are schisms everywhere. Communication technology enables small sects to exist across distance, and connect to others like them, but it certainly does little to bring those in the same place together.
Internet technology, I think, will increase that same effect. I think some of the movements within the emergent conversation and other tendencies of the postmodern church will help to remedy this sense – there’s a real focus on the local congregation – on authenticity and relationships. And the democratic, interactive nature of internet publishing gives the possibility of fostering relationships, rather than distancing them (as some of us have seen, sometimes blog posting can breed actual conversation, and sometimes it can inhibit it. I’m typing right now instead of talking to Matt who’s sitting next to me.) Just doing some general thinking about what new technologies add and take away, and what supernatural power we might be assigning something which has no capability to deliver. For more on blogs and the church, see dean’s blog.