Thursday, November 15, 2007

my iPod and my church

Isn't life a bit odd these days? On my great-grandfathers generation, most people never left their locale, never mind their country, everyone worked within walking distance of where they lived and whole vallages went to church together. My granddad's generation probably saw more radical change than anyone, from horse and trap to man on the moon, the whole lifespan of man travelling at the speed of sound and more international travel than you can shake a stick at. I guess it was the first world war that changed so much. The great war started with a cavalry charge and ended with the death of hundreds of thousands of men in the saturated, muddy fields of France. The world wasn't such a small place any more. People met people from other places, they lived and worked together. They fought another world war together. The arms race started, the arms race ended, America was nearly nuked, America nearly nuked it's enemies. Life in the last eighty years has really changed beyond all recognition. I, to my cultural shame, can not really imagine a world without mobile telecommunications, i mean, how did anyone ever talk to anyone else? How were last minute plans ever changed?

What has any of this got to do with anything? Well not much, only this. We live in an age of unprecedented information sharing, and i love that. I love the availability of online sermons and resources. I love that people like Desiring God and Mars Hill make their resources available for free. I applaud them for that. I really like that i could fire some words into Google and come up with preaching on just about anything, from just about anywhere. Thats progress, thats the church serving The Church. I guess.

We need to watch out though, for the hidden pitfalls in this. (can you look out for something thats hidden?) We're now in a time where it's possible to be 'part' of a local church from the other side of the world. If you were in Sydney, you could never darken the door of a building but still be regualrly fed by good preaching on your iPod. If you woke up late on a sunday or simply didn't fancy it, thats ok, wait until monday, it will all be online, if not from your own church, from somewhere else. Local church by proxy.

Now, not for a single moment do i think that listening to preaching from the internet is a bad thing. The bad thing isn't the itself, it's the person, it's what the person does with it. If, in our endevour to be fed by preaching from sources other than our church, we lose our lustre for the local church itself, we've really defeated the object. I love to pack my iPod with truth, but i never want to prefer that to being in the community of the local church. My local church are my family, they're the people who i do life with. I need to be careful, we need to be careful that in our pursuit of preaching and truth from the wider sphere we don't miss or minimise where God has put us, for the reason God has put us. Our local churches.

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