In class on Tuesday we continued discussion about theories of postmodernity/late modernity/etc. We talked about how informational structures are replacing traditional and geopolitical social structures – about how borders are being redefined not by where you live, but by whether or not you are “connected” to the rest of the world with technology. I couldn’t help but remember talking to one of my high school teachers several years ago when I was in college – he told me he feared society was moving away from a printed language – everything is becoming visual, oral, and fast-paced, at the expense of intellectual and thoughtful expression (as Ryan said in class, sustained reflection is shrinking).
I also thought about a dystopian young adult novel called Feed. In the story, humans are connected to a central internet feed through their brains which controls their buying, communication, entertainment, etc. Because of the high price of the feed technology, many people cannot afford stable feeds (endangering their health), or any feeds at all (making them unable to participate in society). It’s a great book…especially when the feeds start going crazy and all of humanity is at risk.
So, if society is changing and borders are being redefined, how does the church change to reach those who are connected first? But at the same time, how does the church make sure that in the effort to be relevant and postmodern, it doesn’t leave behind those who are ‘not connected’?
How do faith communities continue to minister to the poor, oppressed, and social misfits when the temptation is to minister to the cool, the trendy, and the ‘connected’?