The iPod Touch, Neil Postman, and Mount Calvary Baptist Church
A friend and fellow iPod Touch owner sent me Tim Challies’ “Don’t Take Your iPod to Church” a few days ago and asked me what I thought.
It just so happens that I do take my iPod Touch to church and take voluminous sermon notes on it, but that friend made some good points spurred by Challies’ post:
- iPod instead of Bible feels less formal/deliberate to me.
- iPod seems like it could be a distraction to others around me.
- I can’t take notes as well on an iPod.
- iPod gives me a feeling of “get where I’m going in a hurry” convenience.
I thought he answered well two questions that Neil Postman has now gotten me asking: First, what is the unspoken ideology that every technology carries with it? The medium, after all, is a message. Second, we techie folks know what tech gives, but what does it take away?
But I’m still carrying my iPod to church, and here’s why I do: I have found that the iPod gives such benefits that I am willing to put up with what it taketh away. I know I’ll use the sermon notes I take by putting them into BibleWorks—and I know paper notes will end up in the trash. So while I’m taking notes on the Touch I constantly keep two goals in mind which help me keep control of the technology: 1) understanding this passage by distilling Pastor’s exegetical points and 2) enriching my future teaching of the Bible.
I also try to communicate to others around me with my body language that I am listening intently and not texting. I have to think they would conclude that a guy like me would not so brazenly text during an entire message! Being married is actually a help, because people know that a married woman would be too embarrassed that her husband was texting to let it continue very long.
I can’t say, however, that I have control of all other technologies I use and that they never distract me. Google Reader, especially, is one that I am still fighting to get control of. My subtext for this post is that tech users should not reflexively defend their gadgets but should ask those trenchant Postman questions above.