Sitting in the doctor’s office this morning with my mother gave me time to catch up on all the magazines that I don’t get at home. There is the way-back issue of Sports Illustrated (circa 2009,) a few copies of Better Home and Garden (I just don’t think Anita can ever get our yard looking like that–not unless we win the lottery!) and surprise-surprise, the current issue of Time.
As much as I wanted to read all the articles (we are a Newsweek family at home) most were too long to begin knowing that at any moment we would be called. Time is so short now! So I just flipped through till I came across this article. It is by James Poniewozik, and let me know about a new device, Auto Hop,
that will allow me to skip prime-time commercials automatically–if I had the Dish Network. Is this a great world or what?
Only Poniewozik had to go and raise the ethical question. Is this stealing a show? After all, these shows are paid for by commercial dollars. Advertisers are the ones who are paying millions of dollars to make sure the Bachelorette gets to go to London next week. Is it moral to skip over them, to ignore them? (Ok, do morals even count when you are watching the Bachelorette? Really?)
As Poniewozik points out, it is a new world–one that TV producers, advertisers and watchers will have to come up with a new paradigm. As he says, “Your business used to be about giving everybody the same thing the same way: same Bat-channel, same Bat-paradigm. That’s over.”
The same thing is true about church. Not that long ago we knew that 11:00 on Sunday morning was when worship happened. That’s All! If you were too sick to go to church you were too sick to go to the pool. No self-respecting individual would mow their grass on Sunday morning.
But now…We drop the number of printed worship guides because there is a soccer tournament. Some churches have done away with printed worship guides all together–relying on screens and other demonic devices. I even hear about some people reading/listening/watching sermons online. (For the latest sermons from Providence click here!) And not even on Sunday!
It is not easy shifting paradigms as we move into a post-Google world. How we watch TV, how we worship, how we interact with each other–it is all changing–sometimes too fast for our comfort, especially for those of us who work in church. We can protest all we want about how that really isn’t what God intended, and how if people really loved Jesus and me they would be here at 11:15 on Sunday morning (or at the very least at 9:00!) But the truth is that our world is changing and we are going to have to ask some really tough questions–like what does it mean to follow Jesus? Is Tweeting theologically different from taking notes? Would Jesus still read out of a scroll?
Someone has to ask these questions.
In the meantime, I really do want an Auto Hop!