With the growth of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook over the past several years, our world has become more and more connected to the internet and the instant information and gratification that it can provide. We have instant access to the web whenever we want through tools like the iPhone and printed media is becoming more and more forgotten. We seek out information on news, sports, and what our friends are currently doing. In all of this, how often do we hit the web in an effort to seek after God?
The first English written bible was created in the 1380s, but bibles still remained in solitary locations, shared by the community. Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press around 1440 and the bible was mass produced starting in the 1450s. For nearly 560 years now, we have been using the bible in a strictly printed manner.
Today, printed text is on the decline as people rely on the web for their news and even books. So where does this put the bible? Why have we, the church, not pushed to move Christ more to the web over the past decade?
My immediate answer is that there is a fear of de-humanizing Christ or removing the relationship factor of fellowship. People also like the comfort of having a physical bible in their hands with the ability to highlight and note certain passages. I would argue that either of these things are possible through the web, if it is done the right way! Converting the passages of Christ from the text of the page to the bits of the internet is no different from the initial transition from the oral tradition to the written scripture. The initial transition was done so that the scripture was more readily available; the same result could come from a transition to the web. We have all seen some pretty impressive sites that allow users to create personalized pages, so there is no reason that scripture should be any different.
Obviously, not all of us have the ability to go out and build a website, but we do have the ability to share Christ with others. We can encourage our churches to begin the move to the web and even help design ways of sharing Christ with the world.
As we enter into this world of a constant changing internet, we, as Christians, must learn to keep up. Many people will fight against the move to the web, in a fear that “we might leave the Lord behind.” God will use whatever media He chooses to be glorified, now and forever: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ENDS of the earth.” – Isaiah 40:28