In theory: Jon T. Karn

Pope Benedict XVI recently launched the first ever Vatican YouTube channel. The channel will carry liturgical events, audiences with the pope and other papal activities. Benedict said that “wise” use of such technologies helps promote the search for “the true, the good and the beautiful” across borders and ethnic divisions. How important do you believe technology is to the evangelist of the 21st century? How do you use technology in your own church?

Historically, the church has been slow to embrace technology.

When I was a boy, the latest technology we enjoyed in Sunday School was something called “flannel graph.” It was riveting! But all around us, things were changing. Overnight, everybody had what they called a “television set.” Giant knobs and a test pattern Indian. I remember after the Sunday evening worship service we hurried home to watch a show called “Bonanza.” It was a different world. No need to bleep out any profanity. No violent gore or pornographic rappers. I recall that my parents felt that the latest technology in our home was rather kid safe and family friendly. We watched together. I loved watching Andy, Opie, Barney and Aunt Bea. But one day a traveling preacher came through and called all our TV sets “Hell-e-vision.” I rolled my eyes and sighed, “Oh, brother!” I was glad my dad liked “Hell-e-vision.”

But enough reminiscing. That was then. This is now. In the days of the apostles, information was passed largely on the street. Today, the street is for travel. An amazing amount of information is hurled at us constantly and with increasing speed. Wherever and however helpful information is shared, the truth of the Gospel needs to be right there, maybe on the cutting edge. I get e-mails from around the world. Technology connects us in ways our ancestors could never have imagined. I’ve received comments all the way from Fiji to India from those who have listened to my sermons on the Web. It’s remarkable.

I can’t help but wonder if any of this is relevant to a passage in the book of Revelation. Someday King Jesus will return in the clouds as promised to set up his earthly kingdom. The passage says, “Every eye will see him.” As the world turns, how is this possible? Who knows? Maybe technology will play a role. Stretch your mind a little.

Maybe the second coming of Christ will be a televised and downloaded event!

JON T. KARN is pastor of Light on the Corner Church in Montrose. Reach him at (818) 249-4806.

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