Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tim Challies- Don't Take Your iPod to Church

Last Friday, Tim Challies posted "Don't Take Your iPod to Church" to his blog. (UPDATE: Today he posted a 1.5 update as he continues to develop his argument.) I normally enjoy Tim's posts, and I read through this one. I didn't agree with it, and since nobody else had commented, I left the first comment. I did my best to be reasonable, and I hope my comment came off that way. I then spent the weekend far too busy to get back to read other comments. I also spend some time thinking about the issue. The last thing I would want is for my own pride to get in the way. I've been reading the Bible on electronic devices for years. I find it much easier to carry and study the Scriptures from a handheld and from a laptop. When I teach classes in church, I've taken to bringing my laptop to church and teaching from my notes.

As I processed my thoughts on Tim's post over the weekend, I came to a realization that his arguments against reading the Bible on a mobile device, especially in church, seem to come from the same reasoning that old people might use in their "any hymn written after 1850 is from the Devil!" arguments. Simply because something is new does not make it bad, and simply because something is old does not make it good or right. Speaking of hymns, I'm about burned out on the 19th century hymns my church sings.

Sometimes, in an effort to be pious or to urge other believers to holiness, Christians make some really weird arguments. Two weeks ago, a lot of Christian blogs were repeating a post about why you shouldn't Twitter in church. I couldn't resist: I sat down in church that Sunday and Twittered that I was Twittering in church in response to a blog post I read. OK, the service hadn't started yet, but I felt like I had to. (My wife was furious with me when she saw that tweet on Facebook later). 

To this point, I'm not convinced that the possibility of misuing technology or being sidetracked by technology equals an admonition to not use technology in Bible study or corporate worship. I'm also not convinced that just because Twitter can be distracting means I shouldn't use it in church either. I know at least one person who attends our church's second service reads my first service Tweets.

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