I don’t have a Blackberry. I don’t have text or Internet on my phone. When someone tells me something I need to remember, I pull out a moleskine notebook and write it down, which is slightly faster than Gutenberg’s moveable type printing press. At a conference a few months ago, when I handed my disposable camera to someone to take a picture and had to remind them to crank the wheel to advance the film, a friend joked, “That’s it, I’m taking up a love offering and getting you an iPhone.”
I’m just not that high tech, but a lot of you are. A lot of you are developing lightning fast typing fingers and Herculean thumbs as you punch out messages on tiny little devices. In the coffee shop, in meetings, in the grocery store and yes, in church. But I’ve started to notice that when I see someone on their iPhone in the middle of the service, I don’t assume you’re looking up a King James translation of a Bible verse.
You might be. You might not be updating your twitter with a message that says, “Remember how my last tweet said I was in church? Well I’m still in church, update to follow soon.” You might not be posting a photo you just took of you sitting in church to send to your blog to write a post about church for your new site, Isitinchurch.com. You might not be doing a high tech version of the move an old man did to my friend when she came to speak to their Sunday School class during youth Sunday. When she walked in, he took one look at her, said “I’m out,” and then turned off his hearing aid. After sitting there for 40 minutes, he realized she was finished, turned it back on and said, “You weren’t going to say anything I haven’t heard before.”
But unless you let me know you’re actually using your iPhone to go deeper into the sermon and not just googling yourself (never a good thing to do) I’m going to assume the worst and judge you. (Out of jealousy because I don’t have an iPhone? Cause I’m mad someone borrowed my pen? Maybe cause I’m just a jerk like that sometimes? Hard to say.)
It would be really helpful to me, if you could do a few of the following things when you use your iPhone at church:
1. Stage whisper “I’m looking at the Bible”
As soon as you log on to Biblegateway or some app that has a quadjillion versions of the Bible on it during the middle of service, just whisper, “I’m looking at the Bible. Right now I’m looking at the Bible.” I’d appreciate it if you didn’t add some flair and say something like, “If there are any old people in the crowd who at the age of 32 have some how found a way to already be like the grumpy old villain that shakes his fist at those meddling kids in Scooby Doo, please know I am worshipping and reading my Bible right now. On the World Wide Interweb right this second.”
2. Wear a hat that says “I-phone for I-mannuel”
Is it selfish of me to ask people to wear a puntastic hat during church just so that I can keep tabs on their personal worship experiences with God? Probably a little. Let’s compromise. It doesn’t have to be some horribly cheesy hat. I’ll make one of those little, “I’m on my way to overthrow a government, Castro revolution hats for you.” That way, you can let me and other people around you know that you’re not just trying to hum songs into your iPhone quietly to see if you can stump Shazam in the middle of service. (I am so jealous that my moleskine notebook can’t do that it makes my teeth hurt.) And you’ll look like a metrosexual worship leader which is never a bad thing.
3. Help me win the “please turn to Bible verse” race
I’ve been pretty open about my desire to beat everyone to the Bible verse the minister asks us to turn to during church. I don’t just want to win, I want to beat everyone around me and be sitting there relaxing in the book of Joel while other people are flipping furiously. Help me win. Let’s partner up together. I’ll be the scrappy, old school guy with a unibrow and you be the high tech guy with all the answers. It will be just like all those buddy cop movies. We’ll be unstoppable.
I’d like to think that if we ever sit near each other, you’ll take one of these three suggestions but it’s probably not going to happen. Maybe the safer bet for me is to just give in. To get my own iPhone and join the year 2006. We’ll see.
Do you use an iPhone during church?
What technologies is your church using to foster community?
p.s. Thanks Tripp and David for the topic suggestion.