Digital Formation


I love technology. But I also hate technology. Technology can be incredibly fun and useful. Technology can be amazingly distracting and even destructive. Technology is not going away. So how will you choose to engage it?

I’m thinking through this stuff because technology keeps challenging my life. For the next two months I’ll be teaching a class at Fuller Seminary that I’ve taught for the last seven years called “Spiritual Traditions & Practices.” The last time I taught the class in Orange County I had 25 students. This time I have 6. In fact, it’s the last time I’ll probably ever teach the class because it’s not being offered any longer. More and more classes are being offered online or as “hybrid” courses that are taught at least partially online. This month I’ll begin two months of training in what it means to teach these things online. I like technology . . . but I’m not sure I like this.

There’s something about the ability to look into a person’s eyes, see their expressions, and hear the inflection in their voices when they ask questions. I think there’s something about sensing  a professor’s passion. Really getting to know the wisdom behind a professor’s knowledge. There’s something called “presence” that just can’t be translated into the digital world. I’m not sure what to do with that.

SOULeader is also in the process of getting training in “Social Media Management Systems” that will allow us to expand our ministry reach through the many social networking platforms that exist today. I like social networking. But now it’s become another thing we have to “manage.” How do you feel about that? Can you feel the tension?

One of the things we try to instill in the leaders we works with is balance when it comes to technology. I’ve begun calling this our “Digital Formation.” You probably didn’t even know you were being formed by your computer, your smartphone, and the other technology that surrounds you every day. But you are. We all are! And there’s a tension.

So maybe we can all pray for each other as we live in the midst of “the technology tension.” Pray that we might form it more than it forms us. Pray that we might use it for good and maybe more importantly that God’s goodness can shine through however we happen to be using it. And in the meantime . . . thanks for reading this digital blog.

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