Gizmos, Gadgets, and a Face-to-Face God

Sunday’s Washington Post’s Outlook section had a wonderful commentary by Patrick Welsh, a veteran English teacher at Alexlandria’s T.C.Williams High School, decrying the school’s technolust (A School That’s Too High on Gizmos – though the more suggestive title "Fast Downloads at Gizmo High" provided the link from the Post’s Outlook page).  In his commentary Mr. Welsh argues that the school administrators have gotten carried away with technology, allowing gadgets and gizmos to take precedence over the face-to-face nature of teaching and learning.  What’s worse is that use of this technology has been mandated, forcing teachers to use new technology where a simple chalk board or overhead projector might actually be easier to use and a better teaching aide.

In my sermon Face-to-Face from the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (January 27, 2008) I argued that what we in the church have is a face-to-face experience with a face-to-face God.  Through prayer and Bible study, service to neighbor and fellowship groups, to worship and the sacraments, in church we come face-to-face with each other and with God.  Digital projection, websites, fancy curricula, slick literature inspired by marketing methods are good only in so far as they foster and facilitate a face-to-face encounter between members of the Body of Christ and their God.

Read the commentary, and my sermon, if you like.  Particularly in this season of Lent, it is good for us to reflect on the God who comes to us face-to-face.

About Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. National Guardsman. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.
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2 Responses to Gizmos, Gadgets, and a Face-to-Face God

  1. Ivy Gauvin says:

    Amen! By the way, thank you for the changes on your Daily Prayer Page. I now have the feed to my browser and have it on my blog. Peace.

  2. Rachel says:

    It took me awhile to comment on this because I currently work at a school where each child gets a laptop and each classroom (save one) has a Smartboard and an LCD projector.
    I’ve found it to be an incredbly progressive place, full of innovative ways of attacking age-old problems. So when I read this article I couldn’t figure out what made it work so well for us, and horribly for Alexandria.
    I asked our tech coordinator/art teacher, and I didn’t even have to finish the question before she said, “It’s because for them it’s all about technology. Here, it’s Students, Content, Technology.”
    You’re right, sometimes a blackboard is a great teaching tool, sometimes going to church is the best thing you can do…but all these nifty tools–laptops, del.icio.us, blogs–can help us completely transform our “church” experience and make it a more weeklong process, as opposed to being limited to Sundays.

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