I read a great article today by David Zax on technologyreview.com called “The Religion of Innovation: Enough with Innovation for Innovation’s Sake”. He makes a brilliant conclusion at the end of the story: “Technology changes, evolves, and improves–as it should. But far from calling out products for failing to innovate, or calling out companies for moving slowly, I think we ought to respect the forces in technology that stay the same, and that don’t rush. Doubling down investment in what already works, and taking the time to carefully consider new releases, seem like wise policies for any company that wants to be around for the long run.” David has pointed out something that agree with, and that I wish more people would catch. New Technology isn’t always the answer – sometimes we just need to properly understand and use what we already have.

The pace at which technology changes far outpaces our ability to be mindful of all that it brings with it. I highly doubt that people would have been so quick to adopt blackberries in the early 2000′s if they had known that a constant flood of emails would mean a never ending to-do list that is chained to your hip. On the flip side, I’m surprised that more people don’t understand that if you have the internet, you have phone, tv and everything already. You don’t need another dedicated wire. Corporations haven’t seen this, or are reluctant to admit the fact. TV ratings are still based on people viewing through a set top box device which reports to a ratings system. Only this year have they started to count DVR use, and online views. But I only watch TV that way!! It is much cheaper and therefore effective for me to do it in that manner.

As Christians we must sort out the change of technology in our own lives. I’d say you need to have a system for “getting things done” that works for you. You also need a way to communicate with others, and network with others. (This could be a business card with a handshake for you low-tech people – or sending a business card via Bump or QRcode). How do you read God’s word? Do you use technology to do so? How do you meditate and write down your thoughts? If you can already take care of these functions, you probably don’t need any “new” technology. You can use what you have. I think this is one of the keys to understanding the spiritual discipline of simplicity.

What about churches? Should they use the newest technology? I’d say it depends on the makeup of the congregation and the target audience. Many churches truly don’t need to adopt new technologies, because their membership’s newest technology is talking on a cell-phone that only makes voice calls. Other churches will want to stream video to highly mobile congregations which are not always in town, or are spread over great distances. Many churches will find the use of technology in distributing information (announcements, prayer requests, etc.) to be helpful, and cost-effective. I would love to see churches have a person designated as the “technology person” who actually thinks about whether the church should do something, or needs to do it, and not whether it “can.” Pragmatism isn’t always the answer, often reflection brings insight.

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