The Theology of Technology

The Theology of Technology.
It has been for a number of years now the new practice for churches  that now broadcast their Masses/Services as part of their ministry.

One of the people I work with was discussing how it was that he was home on Sunday, because he wanted to see what the broadcast experience was like.  He went on to explain the ascetics of the program and how it was as far as the sound quality and the video feed.. etc.. He thought he liked it though and would not mind doing that again..

I offer this scenario in order to give us a chance to think about technology and its use in ministry particularly where it is used as a channel for worship.
In the realm of faith, no man is an island.  That is to say that no one can be a Christian by themselves.  You might think to yourself that well if I have faith in God and I believe in Jesus that this is enough..  There are a number of reasons why it is that this is not true.. Lets look at why this might be true.
Matthew 18:12 – Tells us about the parable of the lost sheep.  The parable talks about the one sheep of the fold where the Good Shepherd would leave the flock in search of the one lost sheep. Indeed this parable talks about the lost soul the one who has strayed off the path.  You can not be alone, and isolated from the body with no connection to the Church , the Body of Christ if you are not there to be part of the body, or you have no connection there.

In Matthew 18: 15 Is the discussion on brother correction when someone in the Body of Christ has done something wrong.  I basically tells us to go and confront (admonish) our brother or sister in charity.  If that does not work, then bring two or three from the church as witnesses and to testify, and finally if that does not work to take them before the body of the Church.

If you are alone, if there is no one there , if there is no “Body ” or community that you belong to then there is no way for you to engage in this process.

Many of our protestant brethren, wave the flag of Sola Scriptura.. ( By Scripture Alone).  Even in this view ( whose discussion we will leave out for the time being), Every person of faith should understand that scripture, although indeed is the Word of God, needs The Body of Christ, the church to assist in understanding, interpreting, and indeed, to reflect on , with and through.  To read, and hear, and reflect on these things over and over again. For those who attend church, and yes you do hear the same stories over and over again if you are there over the years, however, we understand that indeed, the words you hear are familiar.  The effect, the translation, the reflection, and the meanings are different for each person because at each hearing you are at a different place in your life.  You are living each moment anew in Christ Jesus.  The cross you carry today is NOT the cross you were carrying last year, or last month.  Possibly one of the particular crosses are the same but the circumstances of your life
are different.  These minor changes, these facets of your life are what cause you, if your heart is open in faith, to see a different facet of that scripture, or passage, or teaching, to be seen in a new light.  But you wont see it, won’t hear it, and won’t have brothers and sisters to reflect on that with if you are not there and connected to the body of Christ.

If your struggling with some part of your life and you believe that you are called to come change in your vocation, your life’s work or just some other part of your life..  We understand that vocation is something that is planted in the brother or sister , and is confirmed through the church.  Here again if you are not connected to the Body of Christ, the community, then there would be no confirmation and no completion.  Think of it this way.. We all have had that friend who sings … They think they are really good.. and have decided that they are going to be the next Pavarotti or Etta James or whoever their favorite singer is.
In truth they are tone deaf, and couldn’t find the pitch they were aiming for if you taped it to their foreheads..
If there is no one to tell them then possibly they will struggle through life, endure much pain and sacrifice and all for nothing.
There needs to be a connection to the Body of Christ to see clearly.

I want to take a moment and look at another side of the coin.  Technology for the sake of worship has decided benefits as well when used in the correct way.  There are those who are infirmed and homebound due to illness and circumstance.  In this case,
a broadcasted Mass and or worship is a blessing, but it is only one part of the larger puzzle.  It is also incumbent on the Church, the body of believers to make a way to reach out to those brothers and sisters that they know about and visit with them and help them, for such is part of the varied Works of Mercy.    In this way, they have connection to the body of Christ, they have access to community and do not experience isolation or feelings of disconnected-ness.

The presence of God occurs in church in three ways,  He is present in the community of believers.  YOu have to be present to be there yourself to experience that presence.  The second way is the Word of God, the Word,is fulfilled in its hearing.  You have to hear it to experience it.  Finally God is truly present in the Eucharist.  You can not experience and be imbued with that presence, to a degree, if you’re not there.

Of you might say that is not true because I can take a spiritual communion, or I can hear the Word on television or broadcast. This is true.  However, you will not experience the fullness of the experience without community, without being there.

Finally, without being there you miss the opportunity to be witness, to be instruments, to be that which you receive.
Without having a community, you are not able to give of yourself.  You will have a brother or sister who is going through the same things you are going through, or have gone through.  How can you receive the insight, or receive the blessing of wisdom that God might want to provide for you, if you’re not there to receive it ?  If you’re not there to share your testimony about what God has done for you, then you can’t be that vessel of a blessing to others.   If you’re not there, then you are not fulfilling your duty in  fulfilling your works of mercy not only for the benefit of others but for the benefit of your own soul.

And so my dear brothers and sisters, I would admonish you to use the gift of technology prudently, and judiciously as a way to reach out to those who are homebound or isolated or as an outreach tool, but be on guard not to use it as a substitute for being in the community because the community is never complete with out you !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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