Thursday, 7 July 2011

Technology and Evangelism


  • The spreading of the Christian gospel by preaching or personal witness
  • From the Greek to mean "good news" (as is "angel")
  • Militant zeal for a cause
  • The winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ
These are among some of the definitions of the word readily available to even the most cursory search. Here are some more:

  • The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes
  • Machinery and equipment developed from such scientific knowledge
  • The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society,and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied scienceand pure science.
Evangelism and technology are either the means or the ends, depending upon in whose hands these noble entities rest.  In isolation, both are something of a detached hobby, and I believe that neither of these things was meant to be, or should be, the ends in themselves. Yes, there will be specialists in the realms of both - but their job is to ensure that both technology and evangelism serve as a means to their ends. 

These definitions were hastily gathered and from the same etymological reference sources (such as they are), and they share some interesting similarities. They speak of the delivery of a message or a concept, to enable a measurable and tangible change. They both exist so that something or someone may change. In this, they have much in common. Indeed, technology and evangelism have shared considerable ground for centuries. One only need note the effect of the advent of the King James Bible on that world-changing technology - printing - to see that this is surely the case. That ground exists between the gospel and iPad, between God's Word and its communication digitally. 

In short, I think that evangelism and technology are natural allies on the frontier to new development. This perhaps sounds odd when considering the majority Christian world which expresses itself in the hitherto, the 'traditional' and in its historic trinketry and artifacts. The challenge is to bring together a message of the past with its contemporary currency and a technology that changes with the seasons. I sense that technology and evangelism have existed together as accidental partners - so imagine the great potential in deliberately placing them together. 

I believe very strongly that evangelism is, at its most effective, a communication at the inter-personal level, and this presents an obvious concern when aligning evangelism and technology. This problem, until recently, seemed insurmountable. We live in a world where individuals separated by many thousands of miles, and several cultural steps, can communicate in real time about what inspires them and nourishes them.  In an age of  the technology that has as much potential to keep humans apart, it is the very vehicle of dialogue that stands the greatest chance of levelling hurdles and overcoming barriers. A Christian blogger, whether they fully believe or not, has an evangelistic impact on the world. They write, people read. A Christian Twitter-monger has the same affect. The joy of technology, most especially in the world of social-media, is that it renders every single voice audible - if only for a brief moment at times. Even a blog that is started and quickly abandoned leaves a footprint that is indelible. Once upon a time, it was believed that 96% of the internet and its traffic revolved around the use or transmission of pornography. It seems that any new technology goes that way in its early days - but the day of evangelism has once again come in the guise of this new printing press - the paperless one. 

1 comment:

  1. But have you noticed that there are now more Christians on the planet than every before.

    And that the world is now saturated with Christian propaganda of all kinds. More Bibles; more theology; more Christian books, magazines, tracts and comic books; more Christian radio and TV stations; more Christian CD's and DVD's, blogs and websites; etc etc.

    And yet the world is becoming more and more insane every day. And that some of the leading edge vectors of this insanity are right-wing or "conservative" Christians.

    And that there are over four million living-breathing-feeling human beings are NOT Christians. As indeed are none of the countless billions of heat-sensitive non-human sentient beings that live om this Earth-world.

    And why does every thing have to turn out to be Christian? Especially in this day and age when the entire Great Tradition of humankind is now freely available to anyone with an internet connection.



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