In a recent article on CNN's Belief Blog roll, Lisa Miller posed a question, "Will Technology bring down the church as we know it today?" Click Here for the Full Story. I find this a fascinating question in lieu of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
For those who haven't had Church History, The King James Bible was put into publication in 1611 by none other than King James himself. The idea was to give the people the ability to read the Bible for themselves, and through the invention of the printing press this dream was made reality. For the last 400 years, an minutia of time in light of history, followers of the Christian faith have enjoyed the ability to have a Bible in the house.
The effects were long reaching. Having a personal Bible takes away the power of the centralized church as the giver of wisdom and knowledge. It created the ability for massive amounts of people to congregate in their own small settings without having a "Pope" figure interpret for them. Ultimately, this transition from the one to many gave helped give rise to the after math of the Protestant Reformation which took place only a few hundred years before.
So the question is an interesting one.
If we are living in this internet digital revolution, what will be the effective changing of the church. The Bible isn't just available as a book anymore. You can download it on your iPhone, iPad, Computer, Android, and if you're connected to the internet, you'll have hundreds of versions at your fingertips.
Not only can you get the Bible as a download, you can listen to the best teachers in the world for FREE! I can download whoever I want to listen to, whenever I want to listen to them. Can this really be good for the church?
Will this "I'll have it my way faith" change the nature of how we do church?
Will the "Personal Jesus" folks hide in the shadows of their own individualized faith?
I don't think so, and here's why.
If the church reduces itself to an iPhone app for a Bible, and a podcast for teaching, both of which are well and good; it still misses the most important piece…THE PEOPLE!
God never intended on having us live our faith out alone. He gave us the body of believers for a reason. He invented marriage, friendship, connectivity, OTHER HUMANS so we could live life together.
We need to rejoice when others rejoice.
We need to mourn when others mourn.
We need to laugh when others laugh.
We need to cry when others cry.
It's a part of who we are as human.
If we forgo the essential human factor, then I don't know we're really doing church. After all, it was Jesus who said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!" (Matthew 22:37-40)
He could have said, "Invite me in your heart, and I'll make everything ok." But He didn't.
He could have said, "I need to be your PERSONAL Lord and Savior." But He didn't.
He could have said, "All you need is me, and I'll guide your life." But He didn't.
He said, ALL the law and the prophets hang on two, not one, commandment. Love God. Love Others.
If we're only a culmination of our own technological convenience, we've missed the point of the faith. We've made Jesus' commandments an illusion. We're simply trying to fit our own version of the faith in our cultural comfort.
May it never be.