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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Churches Go Wi-Fi

St. John's church in Cardiff, Wales has opened a Pandora's box that they won't be able to close. Supposedly in order to attract people to attend their services, they have installed wireless computer networking equipment to make it easier for people to use their personal laptops to retrieve e-mail or surf the net. Check here and here.

All the minister asks is that folks keep it quiet during worship services. Here's the quote that slays me: "I have no problem with people quietly sending an email or surfing the Internet in church, as long as they respect the church."

That's like saying it's OK to watch TV while your spouse is trying to talk to you, just so long as you respect marriage. Duh! The very act of composing e-mail to your uncle Henry or surfing the internet, viewing who knows what, while the Word of God is being proclaimed or the Holy Eucharist is being administered is the very definition of NOT respecting the church. Why isn't this obvious to everyone?

Technology is great, but can't a person get away from the world for even one hour to hear the Gospel?? Jesus said if you will not forsake all for Him, you cannot be His disciple. And some folks can't even disconnect long enough to sing a few hymns and say a few prayers. Gee, I'm glad God doesn't ask for our undivided attention while the flogging and crucifixion of His Son is being proclaimed.

I'm with those four churches in Monterrey, Mexico who have installed cell phone jammers so that people in their building are unable to receive a signal. It used to be the biggest distraction one had to tolerate during the sermon was a crying baby, but now the words of Jesus have to compete with a sudden burst of "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Thanks to Bunnie Diehl for the story.

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veiledpseudonym said...

thats completely mad, ive never heard anything like it. If you go to church, you should go to worship, they one thing I enjoy about church is the ability to think about noting but what is happening for that short time within the four walls.

Athanasios said...

That's sad. What a misunderstanding of worship. It's bad enough that people would actually surf or send email at church, but for a pastor to basically encourage it? Lord have mercy.

Helen said...

This is pathetic. Almost as pathetic as the people who will actually BRING their laptops! Thanks for bringing it to light.

thebloke said...

I think churches going wi-fi is not just for e-mails or surfing per se, but for connecting with the message by linking and surfing to relevant sites. I have read and heard this going on with other wi-fi services. Now, I am not sure if this is true, but just that other references of wi-fi churches give me the impression that it is to increase the interactions between passive congregation and active participants in the service. But then again, I might be totally off base here.

Nona said...

Thats not even worship. Why bother going. You can stay home or go to a coffee shop and check e-mail and surf.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hey Bloke,
I understand what you're saying. HOwever, I certainly don't get the impression from the articles about the church in Cardiff that the net access is supposed to be somehow complementary to the worship service. The priest is talking about hoping that people don't play loud music during the prayers, etc. And even if that were the intent, it still strikes me as pretty misguided.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Well said!

prying1 said...

I'm sure there are rules about surfing habits during the service. For example. If you are going to blog the service in realtime tap the keyboard lightly. If playing Yahoo games with someone in Singapore turn the sound off. Make sure your neighbor or the lady behind you does not see the page filled with obscenities and lewd pictures. If people follow simple rules like these then the worship service will be edifying and bring glory to God.

(This is sarcasm just in case someone missed it...)

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