Once again, with a sermon series, I have challenged myself with a very big topic: how technology is serving humanity, for better or for worse?
I’ve enlisted some help this time. This Sunday, April 7, I will be speaking about how technology can be harmful to the human soul – our values and how we conduct ourselves with one another – and Jon Bassinger-Flores (incoming UUCSC President and outgoing Worship Chair) will be speaking about “Technology Toward Wholeness” on April 14. The Yin and the Yang . . .
I’ve been awfully skeptical about social media and so-called “connectivity” for a long time. I’m still trying to get into Facebook. I have a big block with it. I look at what people post and usually don’t find it interesting, compelling or worthy of my time. I’d rather read a book, the NY Times Book Review, or Rolling Stone magazine, or listen to Public Radio. I am a total nerd. Never been on Twitter, still trying to figure out what on earth is worth posting on Instagram.
Be this as it may, be it that I’m pretty sure I like myself better this way, I realize I need to change. I love my analog self, but the church is undergoing a project to massively increase our on-line presence, via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Time to get with the program!
We will be looking to the major areas of church life to help with this. We are asking the following groups to take responsibility for posting just twice a month, to start: Music, Religious Exploration, Social Justice, Community Garden, Men’s Group, to name some main areas. We are asking that content be relevant to what’s going on in the world.
I know I sound half-hearted, but I am actually looking forward to all this, and personally entering the 21st century.
Perhaps it’s time to remove the quote from my Facebook profile, that has sat there for ten years, by Conor Oberst. Something to the effect of, “Social Media represents the downfall of humanity.”
Well, not so fast. I’m stubborn. I’ll take that down when I no longer believe it’s true. I’ve been reading a ton for this sermon on Sunday, in books like “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr and “Reclaiming Conversation” by Sherry Turkle. Some really depressing shit! The way we use the internet is actually re-wiring our brains. Kids no longer know how to make eye contact or carry on meaningful in-person conversations with one another; they’re losing their knowledge and practice of empathy. WTF? Still sounds like a downfall to me.
My sermon will sound a hopeful note, however. It’s institutions like our congregation that can readjust these trends, one family at a time, with our RE program in particular, but with all our in-person programming. That’s what we’re here for, to be a beacon of humanity in a rapidly de-humanizing world.
See you in church!
– Rev. Hannah