Friday, March 13, 2009

Technology and Religion/Prayer/Spirituality

My friend Lisa pointed me to an article online about Twittering in church. Another online discussion I observed recently discussed whether using an online site for the Daily Office (my favorite is at Mission St. Clare) was really prayer.

These two stories share a common kernel, which seems to me to be: What is the role of technology in the life of faith?

I'm less concerned about whether Twittering is "appropriate" in church than I am about whether Twittering in church promotes or blocks community. I watched the Inaugural Events through Facebook's CNN link - and was able to live chat about what I was seeing with my friends who were online. So, despite the fact that I was alone in my office in Berlin, I was connected, virtually, with friends from around the country and from various walks of my life. That was the ultimate technology promoting community. But, Twittering in church might not do the same thing. It seems like Twittering in church might do the opposite. Rather than interacting with one another, we might start interacting with the technology.

Online sites for prayer seem to be an entirely different animal. If I am praying the Daily Office, chances are I am doing it on my own. I'm either alone in my office, or alone in my car (using my iPod and a podcast of the daily office - which, I realize, is yet another technological adaptation!) or alone in my living room. What I appreciate about the online sites is that they gather all of the things I need for praying the Daily Office in one spot. Rather than needing a bible, and a book of the saints of the day, and a prayerbook, everything is right there. I can enter into a prayerful attitude just as easily using a computer screen as I can using a book. And, the computer keeps me from having to flip around from book to book to book.

What are your thoughts? Can you see technology enhancing community? Enhancing Prayer? Or does it seem as though that's not the case?


Laurie B said...

Twitter is nothing more than "I am here, I don't care where you are". Yet another social disconnect.

How in the world do we talk with each other when whatever someone else is doing is more important?

Sadly, the ebbing tide can not beat the flowing tide.

From what I've seen, the next generation can not think, but their thumbs are more elastic than ours.

Hello? Evolution, in a decade?

Abuela Marty said...

Those who type stuff in church are a distraction to me and my participation in the "moment." Now, they may be typing notes that I would scribble on my bulletin... I shouldn't be critical. :-)

Online sites for the Daily Office and other devotional experiences are wonderful! I need the balance of community and solitude. I'm grateful to those who have enriched my prayer life with technology, though my iPod will never replace a hug from my Christian sibs.