With the proliferation of devices in our lives, it’s not surprising to see more and more of these devices showing up on Sunday morning (and other weekday nights you might meet together). It’s really just a part of society these days. It’s not totally different from the Gameboys of the past, but there are so many more shapes and sizes and these are almost all connected to the net. I’ve been bringing my Surface RT to church for a while now and I use it for my Bible as well as a way to copy the sermon recording from the office server to the FTP site after the service is over. Its nice to have. Most of the people there also have their cell phones (and some of the phones are actually muted).
First off, let me say that I don’t think that there is anything inherently evil about an electronic device. It’s just an inanimate object. I think we can also use them in plenty of good ways, but over the years I’m noticing that they are becoming more of a distraction. As a family, we are heavy electronics users yet I’ve always had the policy of no games at the church building. We did however let them bring a few toys which are the same kind of distraction without the chance of the electronic beeping noises. As they transitioned out of childhood and into grade school and teens, they don’t bring their toys or non-religious books to read. We expected that they would start to focus on the real reason for being there.
So what is our reason for being there? You know, the “Not forsaking the assembly as the manner of some” (Hebrews 10:25). If you read on, it says that we should be exhorting each other as we see the day approaching. We also take this time to worship as a collective group, but that also helps to encourage each other. We also take part in the memorial of the death, burial and resurrection (Acts 20:7). How is this affected by electronic devices? As I see it, when used improperly they are a distraction and fall in the category of an adult just bringing a book to read while they are there (with loud electric sounding pages). It’s just easier and is become more accepted. I have to keep myself in check as well. This is not my time to surf the web. It’s my time to take part in the community of Christ. This is something I need to remember. As an adult, I can just stay home if that’s all that I’m going to do while there.
For us parents, I would encourage you not to send your grade school kids to their classes with electronic devices. Not that this is evil, but you end up with four or five kids looking over one person’s shoulder watching them play. It’s also bragging rights in a place that doesn’t need the world’s distractions. Just leave them in the car and they can play them on the way home. Your kids might not thank you later, but they probably will later in life.