The word technology refers to themaking, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation, or perform a specific function. I googled this definition.
I started this blog with a general definition of the word technology. I hope this makes what follows much clearer.
Yesterday was Sunday. It was our church’s 131st anniversary. I’m sure church anniversaries are important events in all church’s. Being a member of an African American Baptist church in the Bible Belt, I tend to think they are very important. Think with me for a minute. The Black church in America has been the most important institution in the community. It has provided the harbor for comfort, spiritual edification, community involvement and social change, among other things, for generations. Our church anniversary has always been a note-worthy occasion. Established just twenty-five years after the end of the American Civil War, our church was among many African American churches established near the end of the nineteenth century. The church was the one institution the African American community could call its own.
Something happened yesterday that probably wouldn’t have had it not been for the pandemic. Our church anniversary was celebrated with a mixture of some members worshipping physically, on location at the brick-and-mortar edifice, while many others worshipped from the comfort and safety of their homes, watching the celebration over Facebook, YouTube, and live streaming from our church’s website. The onsite gathering was normal for pre-pandemic times, and it was a welcomed experience for the ones who attended. The decision to open the church back up to onsite worship in larger numbers was made prior to the resurgence of Covid-19 with the Delta Variant. The part of our congregation that decided to not attend the onsite gathering, but instead to worship virtually seemed to have enjoyed the experience as much as if they were onsite. I make this assumption based on the live comments I noticed on the Facebook live broadcast.
Zoom, Facebook, telephone conferencing were not even options considered by many of our church members a year and a half ago. I can distinctly remember many people making comments to the effect that they didn’t want to have anything to do with computers and smart phones. I often joke about how a service at our church resembles an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) meeting. Many of us have been there for thirty years or more. Although we’ve had children, a lot of these millennials have left; some are attending younger congregations or simply off exploring the world somewhere. The amazing dynamic to observe is that the business of our church continues, because although senior is our demography, the folks have learned how to not only turn on a computer, but how to use it to conduct the business of the church. Chris is heavily involved in mission work with women in our church and around the city. She tells me of comments she hears from many of these women, indicating that they would prefer to continue using virtual approaches to conduct business after the pandemic abates. I’ve heard similar comments from senior men who are involved in auxiliary church activities.
There’s an old saying that says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, that might apply to dogs, but old people seem to be different. I think the pandemic has proven that to be the case. There’s nothing more impressive that a Christian whose faith convinces them that God has provided technology just for a time like this, notwithstanding the fact that these technologies have been around for quite some time.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be to.
P.S., although I’m old, I’ve been using computers, smart phones, and related technologies for along time. They’ve enriched my retirement experience over the last eight years. I’m excited to see others of the old and blessed crowd coming aboard.