What is released when you combine Easter with technology? A 25-year old ruling elder at the Indonesian Presbyterian Church in Seattle helped me understand this connection. He shared a quote with me from Johann Gutenberg describing his vision for the invention of the printing press (1455):
God suffers in the multitude of souls whom His word cannot reach. Religious truth is imprisoned in a small number of manuscript books which confine instead of spread that public treasure. Let us break the seal which seals up holy things and give wings to Truth in order that she may win every soul that comes into the world by her word no longer written at great expense by hands easily palsied, and multiplied like the wind by an untiring machine.
Technology describes the tools we use to accomplish our work, and tech certainly has become both more powerful and accessible since 1455! Comparing technology in the 1980's to today is still shocking to me. In 1983, I had the pleasure of teaching a class of about ten pastors at Bloomfield College, a Presbyterian-related school. I titled my course Ministers and Micros. Dragging their latest technology into the classroom proved the student's serious commitment. The Osborne 1, a popular portable computer at the time, weighed in at 23 lbs.! I still recall the memory of one of my students, Pastor Ron Johnson, who lugged his Compaq portable up the steps and set it up on the small desk every week for our class. We tried to learn how to use the best tech to to the best ministry.
I gathered pastors in that class because leaders in the church have a responsibility to access and effectively use the best technology to connect God's love to the world. Leaders have this same responsibly today. We are the content creators, network builders, story tellers, producers and directors, artists and designers, community developers, doers of justice and workers of peace, leaders in the church. We are to be learners of not of tools of theology, but must also master tools of technology. I called the learning intersection of theology and technology TheoTech in 1983, and I believe the church now more than ever, needs to spend more time at that corner of mission convergence.
In Spring's Eastertide, consider what your life would be like today if Jesus never burst forth alive from the tomb? What would the Great Reformation had achieved without the printing press? Or, ask your kids what would happen if a chick never broke through its shell? What would your community be like if your church remained inside its doors? What are you waiting for? Release your gifts!
I'm grateful to Christopher Lim, the Seattle leader and a programmer, who shared the Gutenberg story with me. (Learn more at his site, www.theotech,org.) In what ways do you release the “imprisoned” truth and “spread” the “public treasure” Gutenberg wrote about so passionately? What seals need to be “broken” so that we become transformative leaders resourcing our our teams to accomplish their unique mission in the world? Let’s focus our efforts together to release our gifts to boldly transform our cities and our neighborhoods, using technology to release the greatest story ever told!