In Sunday School this morning we discussed an article in yesterday’s Observer about tweeting in church. There seem to be pros and cons about the increasing use of social media in religious settings, and it doesn’t have to be a protestant church. It could be a synagogue or mosque, or anywhere people gather to worship.
Our class, being mostly of an older generation, didn’t think much of the idea. We decided a screen showing tweets in real time, a la Dr. Phil, would be distracting. As for posting the bulletin on an app to be downloaded to a smart phone — a show of hands would bring that idea down in a hurry. Most of us don’t own a smart phone or plan to get one. And those who have them aren’t sure how they work and rely on their grandchildren to explain it to them.
Spring forward one hour, and I attended a meeting after the service with younger people present. I mentioned our debate and the reaction was — what a great idea! “People could make a comment on the sermon and the pastor could answer it right then!” “If someone had a question, they could get an answer immediately.”
I didn’t argue. I can see what is happening. Our younger people are accused of not interacting with each other person-to-person, but they do interact socially. Just differently than their parents and grandparents do. They see the service not as congregation-listening-to-pastor, but congregation-interacting-with-pastor.
I think it will happen. I told my class in 50 years, people might stay in their homes Sunday mornings and yet have a lively and spirited discussion with their pastor and other members of the congregation.
But I don’t think it will replace the covered-dish dinners. Tweets are fine, but there is something about sharing fried chicken, deviled eggs, and chocolate cake over a table.
That’s real social interaction.