iPads in Church

Is there a place for electronic devices in Church?

I was sitting in the women’s meeting at our church last month and the old green monster raised its head. The sister in the front row had an iPad. I was soooo jealous!

The problem was that sister also had it booted up and reading from it... in church! Second problem, so did the president of our women’s society! But the sister next to me had her cell phone out and in her lap and it was all lit up like she was fixing to make a phone call... while in the Sunday morning women’s meeting in front of everyone!

Welcome to the digital world

I had just gotten a new “smart” phone, but lets not talk about how the Blackberry Torch was actually smarter than I am... forget the fact I have a degree in computer technology (but that was a 1988 degree.) And we won’t talk about the fact I am on the computer some 10-15 hours a day. Not only do I write, I am also an Advanced Unit Leader in Avon leadership and sales. I “live” on the computer.

And my church is not in the dark ages by any degree. We have a global church system, so we are set up to communicate with all our members. My church has local and world-wide websites with internet access at every building.

But... it took me a while to figure out that my sisters in the gospel had downloaded their scriptures, Sunday school lessons, church magazines, and everything else to their iPad. Not only was it lighter than the ton of scriptures I tote around every Sunday, they had access to them everywhere they go.

Did I say I was sooooooo jealous?

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly about the Digital World

The Good: It is wonderful to be able to use our electronic devices to look up the scriptures in church, on the subway to work, waiting at the doctor’s office and so forth. You can load them on your smart phone, iPad or other tablet or e-reader. Our church not only has the digital scriptures for you to download free, but you can also load conference talks, church books, hymnals, class manuals, and much more, all going back several years.

The Bad: Like many other things in today’s world, there is always someone that can figure out how to use anything for bad. Not only can you store church material, you can also store all sorts of bad stuff. If the device is equipped with 3G, they are capable of pulling in a wide variety of information from the internet. And there is a lot of bad stuff on the internet these days. Even church goers have to be careful they don’t “happen” upon the bad.

And then there is the Ugly: Ugly happens. It may be good. It may be bad. But there is always the ugly everywhere you go. How do you know the beautiful sister sitting on the back row is really looking up scriptures and not reading that sexy romance book she wanted to finish from last night... Or if that upstanding father of four is really following along with the scripture reading and not checking out the porn sites?

Well, we don’t, but that is not any of our business. We have to leave that up to someone with higher powers than we have to monitor. It is our business to see to our own house before we try to clean someone else’s. There is a hymn that we sing in our church that has a verse that goes something like this:

Once I said unto another, in thine eye there is a mote
If thou art a friend, a brother, hold and let me pull it out
But I could not see it fairly, for my sigh was very dim
When I came to search more clearly, in my eye there was a beam
Text by ElizaR.Snow and M.E.Abbey, Music by CharlesDavis Tillman

In Conclusion

When I am called upon to speak, I like to look around the congregation and look the listeners in the eye. If everyone is staring down at their reading devices, how am I to know if they are listening or playing games!

But since I got my smart phone and have learned how to use it “for good,” I find I would really like to also have an iPad or other larger reading device for all my books, not just my church books. I could down load the local members contact information. I could down load the church’s magazines. I could use it to write articles on the road (or in church... yeah, that’s bad and ugly!) But you get the point.

When it is not feasible to carry my big old laptop with just a couple of hours battery life, I could stick that little thing in my “closer” bag... (that is another story) and take off. I am an Avon representative and I have a down line of more than fifty reps. I could download all their contact information and be able to access it on the road. Or download my customer’s contact information... Yes. Works for me!

My final problem

I just found out I had enough “points” built up as an Avon sales rep to purchase an iPad with 3G for FREE. Well... do I spend them on something I want or do I buy something for hubby, since all our children are grown and gone. Oh, the decisions we wives and mothers have to make. It all comes back to: it is good, bad, or ugly?


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