During Advent, I was curious to see the man on the back row of the chapel staring at his smartphone throughout the service. He was reciting the prayers along with the rest of us, but no book. I learned he was using the Book of Common Prayer app on his mobile device. Seems the 1979 prayer book not only needs a revision; it's becoming a relic.
The part that worried me in the CNN article was the idea that people want to read their Bible sans any "interference" from stuffy ol' Church. If you've ever tried to read the Bible straight up, you're liable to throw the thing across the room as you encounter multiple inconsistencies, back-tracking, not to mention the tongue-twisting names of the Hebrew Scriptures. And that's not even touching the acid-trip that is Revelation. In that sense, there is a place for "stuffy ol' Church", especially if it can be presented in a way that isn't so stuffy. And that's where it takes people, not merely machines, to make the difference. Whatever the church is doing inside has to have enough life to attract those on the outside. In the case of many parishes, that falls on the person preaching because the only thing made available via the web is the sermon. But what if churches were to do more? What if they were develop apps that allow people to hear the music as well as the sermon? Or put it on people within the congregation to create a buzz through Twitter or on a Facebook page?
St. Smartphone and All Apps could be the tool of every church's future.