Monday, January 11, 2010

NEW CREATION Asks: How might an informed theological aesthetic(s) help church-leaders in responding to technologically-induced "mini-generation gaps?"

As every church-leader knows, holding together your congregation as one body often takes blood, sweat, tears, and more blood, sweat, and tears. Differences caused by gender, class, race, income, sexual orientation, education, politics, ideology, etc. can not only hold a congregation back from realizing its greater potential as the body of Christ - it can cause it to implode altogether.

It is in the light of these inescapable realities of ministry that New Creation brings you this short but important new article suggesting that technology may be ushering in the emergence of "mini-generation gaps" which could be a cause for greater (and more subtle) rifts amongst those within congregations.

With all this mind, New Creation asks: What role could a robust and thoughtful theological aesthetic(s) play in helping churches adapt to these coming 'mini-generation gaps' wrought by the continuing onset of social media and the greater assimilation of technology into our everyday lives?

It's an important question as pastors are going to need, as always, every tool at their disposal to reconcile differences amongst their congregations. Certainly there is a role for the arts to play here, but what exactly might it be? Ruminate on these and other questions after reading Brad Stone's short article "The Children of Cyberspace."

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

My 2-year-old daughter surprised me recently with two words: “Daddy’s book.” She was holding my Kindle electronic reader.

Here is a child only beginning to talk, revealing that the seeds of the next generation gap have already been planted. She has identified the Kindle as a substitute for words printed on physical pages. I own the device and am still not completely sold on the idea.

My daughter’s worldview and life will be shaped in very deliberate ways by technologies like the Kindle and the new magical high-tech gadgets coming out this year — Google’s Nexus One phone and Apple’s impending tablet among them. She’ll know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives, and toddler-friendly video games on the iPhone. She’ll see the world a lot differently from her parents.

But these are also technology tools that children even 10 years older did not grow up with, and I’ve begun to think that my daughter’s generation will also be utterly unlike those that preceded it.

Researchers are exploring this notion too. They theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.

“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”

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