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Archive for July, 2010

Is the web just for the young?

July 9th, 2010

I was reading something the other day that suggested that all new technology is controlled by the young. They cited the example of text speak and how adults don’t understand that kind of thing. They also cited the usual cry of the technologically challenged that if they were a 12 year old they would be able to do it. I don’t agree with this idea.

It is true that young people like to make up languages so they can talk to each other without adults understanding, but this has always been true (as far as I understand it). It is also true that many (not all) young people understand technology that baffles a lot of adults. However isn’t it also true that young people often fiddle with technology a lot more than adults and that many young people don’t think of the consequences of what they do as much as adults do (that is they are far more confident around technology).

I have a 14 year old and a 12 year old and a 10 year old and a 7 year old living in my house and I know and awful lot more about technology and how to use it than they do. This is because I have to deal with it every day and they don’t. I fully admit that I’m not adept with a mobile phone but then I hardly every use one, if I did I would be know how to use it.

This brings me back to the web. Of course there are some things that suit the younger web user rather than the older one but that doesn’t mean that older people are less able to make use of the web. Young people do drive certain ideas and technology forwards as they use it more but this doesn’t mean that they have control over the technology.

In my experience the web is open to all both young and old. There are plenty of older web users that are involved in the development of its new tools and new directions. It is something of an outdated cliche to suggest that young people are the only ones who know about technology and the sooner we can get over this idea the better.

So the next time you are tempted to excuse your ignorance of something technical because you are not young please think again.

Thoughts

Confirmation model of evangelism

July 7th, 2010

15743423This is where people are brought into the church through a process or system defined by the church. This form has operated since the beginnings of Christianity.

The model is that Christians are introduced to the church by parents and are educated within the church about the Christian faith. At a certain point they are then asked to attend confirmation lessons which will, hopefully lead them into a deeper relationship with Christ. They are then confirmed within the church at a special service.

There can be little doubt that this has worked in the past in a more regular form of church. Of course going through a system doesn’t make you a Christian and can persuade someone who has no faith that because it all sounds nice and familiar they must have a faith.

Although the web doesn’t really have this form of evangelism on it the web can have a disruptive effect on this approach. As people explore what they believe it is possible to find all kinds of counter ideas on the web. This can disrupt what a church is teaching – especially where the person has not really had a personal encounter with Christ. The authority of the church is challenged and like all good post-modernists people start to question the churches authority to make a claim to absolute truth.

Churches that still want to use this form of evangelism must take account of what is happening in a world where people have instant access to the web. It is not enough to simply describe what is believed it is now important to give a good answer to why this is believed. But just having an answer to why it is believed is still not enough because now people also want to know if it works. In a society that defines itself by what it owns or possesses it is becoming important to show that the Christian faith is more than just an idea but it is an idea that has a positive effect on life.

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