Facebook and Twitter are going to save your church. No for real - it says so on the Internet.
Maybe it is just the type of blogs that I read. Maybe it is just the things that catch my attention. But, it sure seems that there are a lot of people out there that love to embrace each new medium that comes along.
I'm not even going to get into my usual mcluhanesque comments on media both being positive and negative* but there seems to be a rush lately to be the first person to literally write the book on the latest social network and how it will be the saviour of your church.
First there was Chris Forbes and "Facebook for Pastors" that would teach pastors how to "build relationships and connect with people using the most popular social network on the Internet."
Now recently we have Anthony Coppedge and "The Reason Your Church Must Twitter" who takes an even stronger stance with "a helpful, easy and practical guide to reaching the right people with the right message." I don't want to pick on these two authors. In fact they are both really smart men, that I respect a lot of what they have to say. I haven't taken the time to see if a few years ago someone wrote how MSN Messenger would save the church. I bet the Internet was going to save the church at one point, along with the computer, the automobile, and the printed page. All those things have had huge impact on both the church and our very core of culture, but the impact was not wholly positive. I could come up with lots of things about the comptuer, cars and print itself that have negativly effected the body of Christ.
Already I feel it. Somebody is muttering "ludite" and dismissing me as a technophobe. But stop and think about it, nothing has wholesale postive effects. Yes Twitter is great, people can track what other people are saying, eating, etc.... but what about depth? What takes people to a deep level of realtionship? I can as easily ignore the "This is the worst day in my life" tweat as I can engage that person. Being that I am disembodied here at my computer the person dosen't even know that I have ingored their call for help/attention/assistance. Maybe even worse I will make the mistake of dismissing them with a "don't worry tomorrow will be better"
I think us lovers of tech have to be (more) careful to not sell the latest and greatest technology as a fix for all that ails the church. We have see more than the benifits and see all the effects.
Always more to say...but that is good for now
* technically McLuhan has four laws (or directions) but most people really are only ready to focus on the positive and negative effects.