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Technology’s Affect on Community



Technology’s Affect on Community

J.C. Thompson |






Technology’s Affect on Community

LIT – A Christian Perspective on Technology – Message 2

April 26, 2020

 

  • Hello everyone my name is J.C. Thompson and I’m the Family Pastor at Brookwood Church.
  • We are continuing our series titled LIT – A Christian Perspective on Technology
  • We are defining technology quite broadly in this series to help you understand that technology is more than just electronic devices.
  • Technology describes the tools that we create and use to make our lives better.
  • A toaster is an example of technology and so is the printed Bible that you may have.
  • Last week we discussed the affect that technology has on our relationship with God.
  • This week we will focus on how technology affects our relationships with one another.

 

Technology influences community by…

 

FACILITATING connection. (2 John 12. C/R: Proverbs 16:24)

 

  • 2 John 12 (NLT) I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
  • John uses a letter a communications technology to connect with the church.
  • The apostle John is writing this letter to the church instructing them about eternal life, the relationship between love and obedience and to be wary of false teachers.
  • John states that this letter is not his first choice. His first choice is to be with them face to face.
  • But John writes a letter.
  • It can be very easy to discuss the ills of technology without also lauding its benefits.
  • The letter itself, a piece of technology was being used by John to instruct the church in the ways of God and was a worthwhile investment of his time and energy.
  • Our technology connects us to people that we would have difficulty meeting with face to face.
  • Without some of this technology many more would lose jobs, not have access to strong biblical teaching, and relationships with family and friends might grow distant.
  • The printing press, the radio, the television, and now Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are all technology that allows us to spread the love of Christ and the message of the gospel to more people than devices before it.
  • The opportunity to share the love of God is growing and this is something to thank God for. Yes there are ills, but our ability to deepen connections is tremendous.
  • We can not only use our digital tools to connect us with more people, but to connect us more deeply to those we are already in relationship with.
  • APP: Take a moment, now and think of someone that you can meet at some point in the near future. A friend or family member, someone that really edifies you. Text them, message them, @ them in the comments and set a date to connect with them in the future.

 

FEIGNING diversity. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Colossians 1:16-17; Revelation 7:9)

 

  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (NLT) The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 
  • I chose the word feigning here because you are told that technology opens you up to a world of people, but that’s actually not true. Technology leads you to believe that you’ll hear from different people or experiences. But it’s faking you out.
  • This is one of the most amazing things for me when it comes to being a follower of Christ. Diversity. Real diversity where people try to unite around Christ.
  • God desires us to be a diverse people. Every tribe and nation.
  • As a part of the church birthed by God, we do not choose who is a part of our body. God does.
  • The church is filled with people who are different than us according to Money, Experience, Age, Gender, Ethnicity.
  • While it might seem that technology exposes you to a number of different viewpoints and perspectives, that’s actually false.
  • In fact, the algorithms on social media actually make your screen gravitate towards those who agree with you based on previous interactions.
  • In one way that might seem wonderful, in others it could severely limit your ability to understand an issue from multiple points of view.
  • Ask yourself: would you willingly place yourself into a community with people that will disagree with you and share their disagreement with you?
  • Yet, God’s community, the church is supposed to be a place where people share openly about their disagreements but do so in love and only for the benefit of the other person.
  • The “diversity” that technology pretends to offer also means you depend less on the actual flesh and blood people around you.
  • A person is more likely to receive information, support, consumer goods, and education from many different sources around the world rather than the community in which they live.
  • These communication technologies are meant to provide pragmatic solutions. Attempting to make communication become easier, require less time and mental energy, and reduce the amount of things that seem out of our control.
  • Yet when I read that list, I wonder how much we can really grow and mature into disciples that give and serve with humility and develop character if we are continually seeking things that are easy mentally, physically, and emotionally and only do the things that we think we can control.
  • God’s church gives us immense opportunity to learn and grow and see things much differently and discover things about God’s character that we may not be able to see with our own experiences alone.
  • I wonder what I might be able to learn as a 33-year old white man from a woman who grew up in the Dominican Republic, or a 60-year old black man who works for a packaging equipment manufacturer, all who are seeking to honor Christ. The answer is a significant amount. I wonder if I might learn of longsuffering and patience that I haven’t had to form.
  • I wonder if I might learn some innovative way of connecting with people or learning to share stories of God’s faithfulness. The love of a family that looks and has different experiences than mine.
  • This is just a small portion of what God has in mind in forming His body.
  • APP: Who has Christ placed in your life? How can you learn from them?
  • Tip for Parents: Share stories with your kids. Get your parents to share stories. We should always be sharing stories with the people in our lives.

 

FORFEITING the physical (Genesis 3:8; Hebrews 9:15; 10:24-25)

 

  • In week 1 of our series we discussed that God was nearby, walking in the garden as Adam and Eve sinned.
  • If you’re like me that verse hits you with a bit of jealousy that Adam and Eve had a kind of intimacy with God that we long for.
  • Sin, means that humans cannot commune with God in the way that they had been able to before.
  • They needed mediators. A mediator is someone who is between two parties trying to find resolution. Christ is our ultimate mediator and we must have Him as our mediator on our terms or we will face God by ourselves.
  • But when Christ returns we will be unencumbered in our approach to God.
  • If the goal is to have un-mediated connection between God and man, human interaction must be the same.
  • We write letters and send emails because we cannot have discussions face to face so communication technologies are a mediator for us.
  • While these tools offer benefits, they also have limitations. They disembody our communication.
  • It’s one of the reasons it is important to gather physically.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.
  • If you can remember back to the days of dating your spouse, maybe some of you are dating now. You didn’t write a letter or text message saying, I just can’t wait to write another letter or text. NO! You wrote, I can’t wait to see you. To be WITH you.
  • The WITH that the digital offers will always be less than the WITH of unmediated communication.
  • Our faith is spiritual but it is also accomplished through physical means. One of the great shifts in faith has been attempting to separate the “spiritual” from the physical.
  • Jesus came in a physical body.
  • The major example of the working of the family of God is a physical one, the body.
  • Now for some people, the ability to get to a church building because of age, declining health, or special needs may make gathering physically difficult. But this should be the exception.
  • This also should provide wonderful opportunity for church members to reach out to those that may be unable to gather physically to provide community and resources to them as families.
  • But online church is a concession and can never replace the real thing.
  • Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are physical acts.
  • The call for us as Christians is to live physically, in the community that God has placed us is a way of showing a real, physical representation of the love of God to our community.
  • APP: In what ways has this quarantine revealed some of the ways you’ve neglected the physical connections in your life? What step do you need to take to deepen your flesh and blood relationships?
  • If you are feeling especially alone during this time and are looking for connections, we would love to help you. Just drop a comment below saying you’d like to be connected and we’ll have some of our volunteers reach out to you.
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