JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 14, 2011 – In what is often called “the digital age,” Christians can express God’s love by giving attention to other people in person-to-person interactions, Read Schuchardt told the Union University community Feb. 11.
Rather than allowing themselves to be distracted by cell phones, Facebook, Twitter and other instant communication and social network technologies, “(Christians’) love can be shown by being in the room,” Schuchardt said.
Schuchardt, associate professor of media ecology at Wheaton College (Ill.), spoke in G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel at one of Union’s weekly chapel services.
“Each time we change the technology of our physical environment, we change our symbolic environment,” Schuchardt said.
Technology has a history of affecting the economy, religion and other areas of culture, he said, arguing that the current “digital age” has brought on what he called “seven vices of the virtual life”: desensitization, absurdity, disembodiment, isolation, narcissism, instant gratification and “goal-lessness.”
In light of the negative effects he sees of current social technology, Schuchardt said Christians should carefully examine their use of technology.
“Christians are called to be agents of change,” he said.
When Jesus gave the Great Commission, he said “go,” “speak,” and “heal,” giving Christians the three media forms of their bodies, their voices, and their touch to use in interacting meaningfully with others, Schuchardt said.
Schuchardt challenged the Union community to take up the discipline of using these three media when interacting with people, even if it means turning off their cell phones.
“Our real opportunity (as Christians) is to be known as the people who show up,” he said.
The full audio from Schuchardt’s chapel address is available at http://www.uu.edu/audio/detail.cfm?ID=524.
By Samantha Adams (’13)