Analog Church Maybe Now More Than Ever
Hours each week have been added to my regular work flow all to manage the digital aspects of church life. There is the usual study, and writing of a sermon, but instead of delivering it before a full room of people I love dearly, it is delivered before a camera in an empty room.
If you are like me, you are aching to get back into regular rhythms of gathering as believers, to sing together, takes communion, hug one another. I haven't encountered many people that would like the church to stay virtual... but alas, our "normal" was driving toward a consumption of spiritual enterprise that advocated for digital, fast, and efficient.
Into that world Jay Kim presented his book, Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places, and Things in the Digital Age.
The book is a gift to the church. From the heart of Silicon Valley comes a call to set aside many of the tools that have changed our lives to experience presence, rootedness, and the vibrant humanity of the church.
I picked a funny time to read it, as we have relied on many digital tools to get through this pandemic. But I found Kim's encouragement to slowness, being present, and confession among people in the place of the church so worthwhile.
Covering our ways of worship and the word, Analog Church presents a way forward, once we can gather again, that I think many of us now aching for personal interaction will be keen to pursue. It is the way of the church and it is good. I did chuckle at Kim's exhortation about how communion can't be done virtually (given our lock down status).
Check it out for yourself and enjoy some of the choice quotes from the book below:
"This is our digital world. Even the most important decisions, like the people we choose to enter into meaningful relationships with—maybe even a lifelong commitment—are made with shocking speed."
"The speed of the digital age has made us impatient. The choices of the digital age have made us shallow. The individualism of the digital age has made us isolated."
"The church was never meant to be a derivative of the cultural moment but, rather, a disruption of it."
"The point here is that in order to invite people into analog worship in the digital age, worship leaders and musicians must leverage their skill for something quite different than what we see in the rest of the world of music, where the lights shine brightest on the people in front of the microphones and behind the instruments."
"The rhythms of our worship gatherings must begin to welcome the wide spectrum of emotions born out of the countlessly unique stories and situations people bring into the room. We must recognize and give voice to joy, mourning, and everything in between when we gather to worship together, acknowledging that God meets us in all of it."
"There are plenty of affinity group opportunities all around us, but only the church can be a place where even our affinities are set aside to gather around the profoundly good news that God loves us, is with us, and will make all wrong things right someday."
"Reading the Bible alone in short, bite-sized bits can be a healthy supplemental part of discipleship to Jesus but it must always be paired with an ongoing commitment to engaging Scripture as a whole, diving deeply into its long story, alongside the community of the church."
"As technology speeds life up to unprecedented levels, people are becoming hurried and frenzied in unprecedented ways. Life is always hectic, and it’s easy to lose the ability to see the long view of history unfolding, both behind and before us."