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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Digital dilemma: Sermon interruptus

(Photo by Andrew)
In the good old days, people would fall asleep during the sermon.  Now they are wide awake in the pews - checking their smart phones every few minutes.

Vince Horiuchi of The Washington Post reports that "about half the congregation" may be toying with digital games, texts, e-mails, news, Facebook, and various other sites during any given worship service.  This blatant disregard for what is happening in the pulpit is not only seen as normal, but also as somewhat beneficial.

In an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em…" kind of a move, United Methodist pastor Dennis Shaw keeps his cell phone quite literally in hand while leading the service.  That way, congregation members can Tweet him in real time about their worship experience.

This may seem odd, but it is a practice that has actually been encouraged by a San Diego based seminar called "Digital Jesus."  Teachers of this seminar refer to younger congregation members as "digital natives," and to older members as "digital immigrants."

One regional LDS leader went so far as to describe religious apps as the fulfillment of this prophecy from Isaiah:  The Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.


Copyright August 27, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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