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Technology For the Masses: Churches Going Hi-Tech 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-up-your-pdf-and-sing dept.
theodp writes "More and more, reports the Chicago Tribune, churches are embracing the use of tablets and smartphones during services. At Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, the Rev. Otis Moss III preaches from his iPad. 'There was a time in the church when the Gutenberg Bible was introduced,' notes early adopter Moss. 'There was a severe concern among ministers who were afraid the printed page would be such a distraction if you put it in the hands of people in worship.' Tech-savvy churchgoers are also on board. 'In the service, when they say to pull out Bibles, I pull that phone out,' Ted Allen Miller said of using his Android smartphone at Willow Creek Community Church."
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Technology For the Masses: Churches Going Hi-Tech

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  • Just like anything else, it's different so some people will find it weird or wrong in the beginning. Or assume you are looking at porn in service or some equally ridiculous claim. And the only reason this is even a story is because it involves churches which are often steeped in tradition and not generally the first to use tech, although that's really a church by church decision.
    • by IorDMUX (870522)

      although that's really a church by church decision.

      I'd say region by region, rather than it being driven by denomination. I was going to a church in Los Altos (not far from Google Headquarters) in 2008, and smartphones were the medium of choice for following along in the scriptures. First iPhones and later the G1 when it debuted...

      Fast forward two years, and I moved to Fremont, about 15 miles counterclockwise around the bay. In church there, one day, I pulled out my HTC phone and and was met with questioning stares. I raised a question about a scriptu

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday April 09, 2012 @11:22AM (#39619157) Homepage Journal

      It's also pretty old news. Preachers have been broadcasting sermons and hymns on TV for decades, on radio before that. What church doesn't list a phone number?

      Is there still a church that lacks an internet presence? Even the tiny, poor church I attended (in the poorest neighborhood in town) over five years ago had the computerized large screen. The one I attend now is very large, rich, high-tech church, with two giant screens, professional stage lighting, electric musical instruments, all computerized. Flat screens all over the concourse.

      You're right, churches (except perhaps the Amish) have embraced technology before I was born, and that was a LONG time ago.

  • ...is that as more technology becomes available, the true believers seem MORE certain of their faith. I'm not sure if that is a result of the technology or just a shift in the way religions operate, but it seems like questioning your faith used to be considered a good thing and is now very much a bad thing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Boronx (228853)

      My guess is this has to do with politicizing of faith. When you have a pastor telling a 15 year old girl that she can't be a Democrat and good Christian at the same time, then you've got an earthly power structure that depends on faith for stability and anything that undermines the faith is a threat.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Indeed. You have asshats like the Florida guy (with his clean-shaven face and necktie, Satan's leash and symbol of wealth and power) directly contradicting Jesus' teachings by disrupting funerals with "god hates fags" signs... he's going straight to hell. God doesn't hate anyone, but he does hate things you do no matter who you are. That hypocrite that scrapes a secondary sexual characteristic off his face should look at where the bible says not to make your self look like a woman. He's worse than any gay I

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      ...is that as more technology becomes available, the true believers seem MORE certain of their faith.

      What may be happening is that as communication tools improve those true believers have the ability to communicate more freely so the rest of us see more of their communications.

      If you look at all the neo-nazi groups, pedos, and scammers on the internet you might get the impression there are more of them then there were a few years ago. The truth is they can just communicate better now.

    • by saider (177166)

      Most likely because like minds can now find others via the intertubes, reinforcing their belief. Note that this also works for conspiracy theorists, hate groups, and other minority belief groups.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      ...is that as more technology becomes available, the true believers seem MORE certain of their faith. I'm not sure if that is a result of the technology or just a shift in the way religions operate, but it seems like questioning your faith used to be considered a good thing and is now very much a bad thing.

      One possible explanation, in a quote from Andre Malraux (with my emphasis):

      The great mystery is not that we should have been thrown down here at random between the profusion of matter and that of the stars; it is that from our very prison we should draw, from our own selves, images powerful enough to deny our own nothingness.

      Chasing "the American dream", a even a middle class (much faster for a redneck or whitetrash) individual doesn't take much to realize that s/he's nothing and have very little control over what governs their life... what choice does such a person have? Science is not accessible to her/him and science doesn't promise a better life (not in terms of gizmos, but in terms of denying their nothingness)... where can that person find salvati

  • Is this flamebait? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mu51c10rd (187182) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:51AM (#39618245)

    I know this article will generate legions of flamewars and hostility. However, i would like to mention that belief in a God is not mutually exclusive with belief in science. Many religious worshipers don't think the world was literally created in 6 days, nor is 6000 years old, nor discard evolution.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by daem0n1x (748565)
      Even the extremely conservative Roman Catholic Church officially recognises evolution. Here in Europe most people never heard about the Creationism stupidity in their lives. Only in the USA and a few Muslim countries you can find batshit religious fanatics trying to push that shit around, and being taken seriously.
    • by Empiric (675968)

      Yes, but that was only to modify the religion to accommodate the recent findings of science. I mean, it's not like allegorical reading was being advocated by Christians in like, the -third century- or anything...

      "And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day, and of the firmament upon the second, and of the gathering together of the waters that are under the heaven into their several reservoirs on the third (the earth thus causing to sprout forth those (fruits) which are under the control

  • old news? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ibennetch (521581) <bennetch@gmailSLACKWARE.com minus distro> on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:55AM (#39618293) Journal

    Maybe we're all just really high tech, but my pastor has been using his laptop in services for ten or fifteen years. Rather than carrying a Bible and notepad, many of us in the congregation have been using laptops with Bible software for following along and note taking. One of the first things my wife did when she won an iPad was to get a Bible program and set up her note-taking system with it. Somehow I'm able to avoid the urge to check my email; I think in part because I have a close network of friends who won't hesitate to call me out if I'm goofing off.

    Carrying a digital Bible has many advantages; quickly changing to another reference, access to different versions, cross referencing and Strongs lookups...I'd have trouble going back to paper.

  • by davide marney (231845) <davide DOT marney AT netmedia DOT org> on Monday April 09, 2012 @10:00AM (#39618345) Journal

    The church has historically been an early adopter of mass communication technologies, the best example being the publication of the Gutenberg Bible [wikipedia.org] which marked the start of the mass-produced book printing revolution. One Bible mobile app that I think is really notable is the YouVersion app (youversion.com): multiple translations, reading plans, bookmarks, notes, social networking; it has it all. An excellent example of a learning tool.

    • An interesting observation. But it was not the established Church that adopted the Gutenberg Bible -- printing and reading the Bible in the local language was actually heavily resisted and forbidden by the established Church of the time.

      Rather, communication technology like the Gutenberg Bible played a central role in the reformation of the Church. It allowed those dissatisfied with the established church to learn and organize for themselves, and establish a new church, the Protestant movement, that was m

    • Weren't the faith healers using wireless audio decades ago so assistants could feed them information about the people they were "healing?"

  • Swiping things and making gestures with your fingers can now be considered christianly behavior.

  • this strikes me as a bad idea... a big part of going to a church service in person has to be human interactions and I'd think all the tablets would get in the way.

    • by vlm (69642)

      OK so you have no experience or evidence but felt like posting anyway. (I married into a churchgoing family... guess where I spent last sunday morning? None of them are believers (just social/traditional) so we all get along better than might be expected...)

      this strikes me as a bad idea... a big part of going to a church service in person has to be human interactions

      LOL if anything its the other way around, during services.

      Non-services related activities, yeah, thats nothing but kids goofing off as kids do, and parents playing "holier than thou".

      I'd think all the tablets would get in the way

      Some of the commandments seem a little outdated.

    • I would agree. I work with some technical aspects of my church and while I want to add some accessibility enhancements, I don't want to detract from the service. You don't want to turn people's focus from the speaker to a device. That said, it would be nice to have features for those with disabilities, be able to share notes, and maybe eventually be able to get a transcript that you can review later (helps reinforce things, especially if you have some hearing/vision/language impairment).
    • by gauauu (649169)

      this strikes me as a bad idea... a big part of going to a church service in person has to be human interactions and I'd think all the tablets would get in the way.

      There are really two parts to most modern church services:

      "corporate worship" time, which includes singing, greeting, group prayer, etc. This is really based on the idea that human interaction really encourages, grows, and solidifies your faith.

      "teaching/preaching" time, which is the sermon. This was originally based on the idea that you'd have someone more studied in scripture/theology who could teach you spiritual truths (or teach applications of those truths) in a way that the lay person might not be abl

  • Churches could create an app that displays the relevant verses/other information at a given time so you don't have to search for them. It could be implemented either by using a wifi network or a predetermined schedule.

  • Doesn't surprise me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gravis777 (123605) on Monday April 09, 2012 @10:40AM (#39618761)

    LifeChurch actually wrote one of the most popular Bible apps out there. My pastor at my church has started telling people to pull out their phones and tabletts for about a year now. I went with a friend to a very traditional church at one time, and the pastor there, in his 70s, was preaching from his phone. It's still the Bible, no matter what form it takes. The electronic form makes it easier to make notes, cross reference, post to Facebook and Twitter, look up stuff online, and easier to carry. I actually find myself reading it more as I can easily carry it with me in my phone. It is probably the greatest advancement to the Bible since the Guttenberg press, with the NIV and other translations being the second greatest advancement (which you can also get in the Bible apps)

  • by jdavidb (449077) on Monday April 09, 2012 @11:55AM (#39619467) Homepage Journal

    After 3000+ years, religion has finally finished with hides, scrolls, codices and books, and moved back to tablets?

    • by DesScorp (410532)

      After 3000+ years, religion has finally finished with hides, scrolls, codices and books, and moved back to tablets?

      "The Lord Jehovah gives you these 15 *crash!*... 10... 10 Commandments!"

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