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It’s always my goal to learn something new everyday. Yesterday I learned a new word – and no it wasn’t on my word of the day calendar. This word, and new found knowledge, came from an email I received and I wanted to share.
The word: LUDDITE.
“The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work.” (reference: wikipedia.com)
The Luddites were people who were against the advancement of machinery. They saw these advancements as things that threatened their way of life, rather than things that could aid in their work and overall job production.
In modern language, a Luddite is someone who opposes change in general; more specially, it is one who opposes, or is slow to accept technology.
There are many within the church (in particular) that we could call a Luddite. They feel the church is not the place where technology and digital media are to be used. I will say, there are moments when the sacred trumps the need for technology. But on the other hand, I believe for the church to be relevant within the culture, the church must submerge themselves into the arena of using digital media communication. If we fail to enter into this arena we will only fall farther behind the times and our future put into question. Yes I know that is a drastic thought, but technology will continue to advance, there is nothing we can do to stop it – and if we cannot stop it, why not embrace it and leverage it to benefit and further the Kingdom.
So how does the church transition from being Luddites, those afraid of change and technology, to Googlers, a term used by Dr. Leonard Sweet in his book Viral describing those who are the “digitized, globalized group that spends much of its life getting to know one another in a virtual world.” (pg. 3)
To be honest I don’t think there is a quick fix solution, but rather a process that has to happen. Before anything can happen and the process started, the church has to acknowledge and accept this is something they need to do, otherwise it will be an uphill battle and one that is more likely to be lost than won.
The purpose for transitioning from a Luddite to a Googler is not for popularity or namesake, but for Kingdom sake. The generations that are coming up have never known their world without technology, some have never know the world without computers, the internet, and smartphones – and they need Jesus as much as the rest of us.
For the church to survive, remain relevant and reached the unchurched, it must learn a new language to communicate Jesus that is based around search engines, tweets, texts, posts, video, and constant change.
A different level of communion begins to happen when the church engages with people and culture in their own language – a language that often happens to be communicated in 140 characters or less.
So in transitioning from a Luddite to a Googler: acknowledge and accept a new perspective is needed and a different language learned.
I would love to know your thoughts.