One of my favorite gadget and technology blogs, Gizmodo, had a rather unusual posting today about the intersection of technology and church. I’m borrowing a phrase in the comments for my post title. Here’s the article:
I do appreciate this article for abstaining from typical comments attacking one side or another, which many people (myself included) often partake in. The comments are, for the most part, hearty and contribute positively to the discussion. Those that aren’t helpful … well, at least they’re light hearted and funny. That being said, let me now thesis-ize…
One thing that struck me is a quote from the designer of churches for the new millennium. Sifting through the technical discussion of the sweet 3D projection setup is this quote:
“It’s important that the technology doesn’t overshadow the message,” Houston Clark says. “But it’s also important that the performance adequately uses the technology to best get the message out.”
Does it? I took a peek at Clark’s flickr photostream and immediately formed my own opinion. The famous quote coined by Marshall McLuhan comes to mind. In this context, “The Medium is the Message” says that despite the honest intensions of mega-church designers, they cannot overcome the message built into the fact that the service is framed with colored lights, fog machines, and now 3D holograms.
And what does that message say? To me it speaks of the function of the church, and for these churches, it is entertainment. Its saying, ‘the gospel we preach needs to be surrounded with high tech effects in order for people to pay attention.’ I don’t think these church designers are intending to be malicious or manipulate their congregation audience, but whether they intend to or not, they are. If we believe it, The Message should stand for itself.
But read the article (and the comments) for yourself! What do you think?