When Technology Serves Faith

While those of us in faith communities must monitor dangers of technology - deviant content, threats to privacy, etc - we shouldnt overlook the many positive benefits it brings to our faith lives as well.  I have two recent examples that I wish to share.  

The first comes from a Catholic parish meeting where I was leading a meeting recently.  People were seated in groups of 6 and I assigned each group a unique task.  I asked one group to identify 2-3 scripture passages that they felt spoke to the current experience of the parish.  As I watched the groups work I noticed that each person in the scripture group was looking at their smartphone.  I walked over to investigate and discovered they were all accessing the Bible online through their phones!  I pointed out to them that had I given them this task 10 years ago the 6 of them would have been huddled around 1-2 print copies of a Bible (and quite possibly arguing about what passage to look at).  Instead, each person could not only access the Bible, but also use search functions to swiftly find the passage they wanted.  

The second story comes from a Catholic archdiocese where I met with the Archbishop and his presbyteral council (a group of priests selected to provide the archbishop with advice).  Before starting the meeting we prayed the Liturgy of the Hours (the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church).  As I looked around the room I noticed that 16 of the 20 priests in the room (including the archbishop) was reading the prayers off a tablet or a smartphone!  Only 4 were reading a print book.  

Both these stories show how technology can also make the practice of faith easier.  Technology can put holy texts at our fingertips and that is surely a good thing.  As much as we need to wary of technology's dangers, we need to embrace and talk about its many benefits as well.