Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

14Feb/110

Should We Filter the Internet for Everyone?

With churches hosting protest events like “porn sunday” and supporting the anti-porn efforts of ministries like xxxchurch.com the question arises: Should we force the internet to abide by standards of decency? Some people are pushing for standards to be enforced—apparently they already exist in our Federal system, but have not been enforced.

Others point to the abolition movement of the past century, where zealous protesters fought for a ban on alcohol only to have it remitted years later. They consider legislating morality to be too extreme in this case, and they flaunt the freedom of speech as if grants them a right to offend, enslave, and expose everyone around them to anything they want.

Our democracy is built on a balanced tension between two extremes, and often that balance can be difficult to identify from a single standpoint, but on this issue, I am happy to be found on the side of the extremists. I would be happy to see a hard crackdown on all media: internet, TV, and advertising in the U.S. I believe we need to go beyond explicitly sexual content and start banning the sexual innuendo that is used to sell everything from hummers to rice.

Do we really need 3 movies in 12 months that flaunt the theme of “friendship with benefits”? REALLY? Should these really only be rated R?

Should a child really be able to go to a public computer somewhere, or to their phone, and surf pornographic content without any age verification or warning?

Relationships are so much more than passionate moments.

Sex is so much more than a recreational activity.

Love is so much more than what develops on television and the movies these days…

 

I crave a better presentation of life from television, movies, and media. I crave a safer environment to allow my children to play in. I fear the perceptions, habits, and addictions that our unsafe world develops all too quickly.

Read more about the censorship movement here…

10Feb/090

Another Reason Why Ministers Need to Immerse Themselves in Culture

The world is changing so quickly...it's almost unthinkable to attempt to consider the future. A huge number of children will solve problems and work in jobs that do not even exist today... This begs the question, how should we seek to prepare leaders of the future church???

Watch this video, then have a look at my suggestions below.

My suggestions:
1. Teach them to accurately interpret the Word of God, and create a foundational center of information where the people of the world can go to find a trustworthy source of those interpretations. Because the word of God does not change, and if we can give people the universal principles of the Word of God, they can apply it effectively.

2. Make the major task of the church to train up leaders of character and effectiveness for future generations. If our main task as a church is leadership development, then one thing is for certain: We will multiply our influence, rather than see it diminish. We cannot simply judge our progress on our own performance. The acid test of our lives should be that we ensured that more people would carry our work on after we've passed away.

11Jan/090

Church Tech Camp Take #2

Loved, I repeat, LOVED the unconference last week. I can think of nothing better than the time I spent there, hearing the discussion between 50+ people over their use of technology for the gospel. What was gained from the time? Here are a few thoughts and links.

First and foremost, I added a host of twitter contacts, so that I can keep track of relevant blog posts and updates in the lives of those who are like-minded in their use of technology.

Secondly, I surfed through and began using a number of new internet applications, integrating Twitter with by blog, utilizing the Twitter search features to expand my network, and finding ample connection to ministry-minded individuals via ROOV.com.

Finally, I had a number of key concepts strike me during our discussions over the use of the internet. Here are the footnotes:

  • People share their lives/thoughts/experiences like never before--but they are doing it in the online arena. Where else can you learn about people's favorite books, see pictures of their adventures, and hear their laments over the toils of life. Sure, they don't share marriage issues, or personal vices, but following the details of their lives for years can open the door to knowing them well enough to engage them in those more intimate conversations.
  • People can connect with others nationally and internationally in ways that are not physically possible, especially in closed countries, and in forming these connections, can facilitate things like Community groups, one-on-one discipleship, Theological Education, and sustaining missions partnerships.
  • People in today's society are intensely mobile (travel a LOT). How do we encourage a depth of discipleship in a world that by default leans toward surface meetings? It seems to necessitate the use of technology.
  • We need to look at the portal of the internet through the lens of people's spiritual gifts and passions. The gift of evangelism can find special expression via the internet...and we need to help guide people with that gift to the right tools.
  • How do we define church? We need to come to a conclusion on this issue, then use the definition of church to help us frame what we are doing online.

8Jan/090

Online Church Tech Camp

I am currently having my mind and concept of the internet enlarged by a conversation regarding online church...

This conference is very open to discussion and has an online video broadcast. if you are out there, join us.

Here are a few thoughts so far:
How does our perception of the internet today compare to the church's perception of rock music one generation ago? Didn't God allow us to create the internet for his purposes?

What advantages does it present?
Here's one: Discipleship and Community Building in places that are closed to church gatherings and seminaries.