Tim Challies: Who is using Whom

Tim Challies from Challies.com has an interesting article in the June issue of Tabletalk on new technologies entitled: Who is using whom. He reflects on technologies in general, and the different attitudes people have to new technologies. There are two types: those who embrace everything new, and those who don’t. But he has some helpful insigths:


While a technology may not carry the weight of morality with it, we would not want to downplay its significance. When a significant new technology is introduced to the world, we do not have the old world plus the new technology; we have a whole new world. The world today is not just the old world plus new digital technologies; it is a completely different world. What is true here generally is true of the church — even the local church. Local churches have been permanently changed by digital technologies; there is no going back. The question we face, then, as Christians and as defenders of the local church is how we will respond and adapt to these new realities.


He reflects on the phrase of a man called Marshall McLuhan who said: “the medium is the message”


A church may transition from using hymn books to using a PowerPoint projector. It seems quite a small matter, and thousands of churches have already done so. What difference does it make if the words are printed on paper in our hands or if the words are flashed onto a screen high above? But if the medium is the message, if the medium is more than a simple conduit for the message but actually intercepts and even overshadows the message, what do we stand to gain or lose? What risks are there in putting aside our hymn books and what opportunities are there in embracing this new technology? Maybe we will find that we risk unfamiliarity with the songs as families no longer have copies of the book at home to sing during times of family worship. Maybe we find that we are quick to add new songs to the repertoire at the expense of the classic hymns of days gone by. Where there is the opportunity to experience greater convenience, there remains great risk.


And here is his conclusion:

We are left with difficult realities. The world is changing, and it is senseless for us to wish that the old world could return. It will not; it is gone forever. What remains for us is to carefully examine new technologies, seeking to understand both the risks and opportunities they bring. What remains for us is to be diligent, to be discerning, to be wise, to examine how we will use the new technologies we encounter, and how they may just use us.

Tim Challies: Who is using Whom, Tabletalk, June 2010

The school dilemma

It was good to be in Guingamp yesterday. Emmanuel showed me the house from the outside, and we explored the area. and saw the local schools.

Jean-Baptiste will be 5 next month and in France, he will still be in nursery for another year. It is good news. But there are two schools at close proximity. Which one to chose?

The closest one is only 700m away. It is a small school, and could be good for Jean-Baptiste. The teachers would have more time for him, and we may have more opportunities to meet people. But there is no primary school, only the nursery section. It means we would have to change school in a years time anyway and send him to the other local school.

The other school is sligtly further, maybe 1000m away. But it is straight forward to get there, and still walking distance. It has a nursery section as well as a primary school. It is bigger than the other one, but looks nice from the outside as well. The advantage would be that Jean-Baptiste would not have to change school next year.

Now, there is still a bit of time to decide, so we’ll discuss the matter again, and may wait until we have moved to decide. Check the map of the area below:

Afficher Local Schools 23 rue Yves guyadier sur une carte plus grande

Signing the rental agreement

This week, I went to Guingamp to sign the rental agreement. We had arranged with the Hartiels that I would leave the car in Plymouth and that they would pick me up in Roscoff.

Monday morning, just before leaving home, Jean-Baptiste woke up with a badly swollen throat. He’d had something for a while, but it didn’t seem to disturb him. But this time it was very painful and swollen. No need to say I didn’t want to go. But I wasn’t going away too long, so I went and Esther took him to the doctor. He was prescribed antibiotics and Ibuprofen, and given an appointment for the next day. He is better now, still swollen, but not in pain. Me must keep an eye on it.

It was strange to travel on my own and as a foot passenger. But it was enjoyable. I sat down quietly and made the most of the 5h1/2 trip to read. I hadn’t done  that for such a long time… The sun was shining, the boat was quiet, no children running around. On the other side of the channel, Emmanuel Hartiel was waiting for me.

On Tuesday morning, we went to Guingamp, had a look at the house from the outside, and looked at the schools. Then we went to the Agency to sign the rental agreement. The man from the agency was late, but I talked with his colleague, and when we arrived, we went through the rental agreement point by point, before signing it. The tenant will move out on 9th August, and we’ll get the keys on 10th August. Things are slowly falling into place, but there is still so much to do.

On the way back, the boat was a bit busier. I watched a film in the cinema, before finding my seat and reading for the rest of the journey. The travel from Plymouth to Cardiff was very smooth: quiet motorway, and I was back hom at 1 this morning.

Another great Sunday

Some Sundays are especially blessed. Today was one of them. This morning, our Pastor preached from Joshua 1 on the theme: be strong and of a good courage. Israel was at a turning point. The generation that had known God’s mighty works in the wilderness had passed, and a new generation needed encouragement as they were about to enter the promised land. We are at the same turing point in Wales. The generation that has known God’s blessing in the fifties is passing away, and the new generation needs encouragement. He reminded us of the importance of being rooted in the Word, God’s love letter to us.

Then, we had lunch with our Landlords. It was hot and sunny, and we chilled out in their garden all afternoon. Now, Esther has gone to church, and some Ladies have organised some kind of little goodbye party for her. I have just put the children to bed, and will try to get ready for tomorrow’s quick trip to Guingamp. The ferry is at 3 pm, but Brittany Ferries has advised me to leave early because of roadworks in Plymouth city centre.

Ed Stetzer: The blessings of the New Media

The June 2010 issue of Tabletalk Magazine has some helpful articles on Social Media and the church, available online. In his article, Ed Stetzer reckons that social media assist churches and Christian leaders in at least four ways:

  1. Social Media assist in Community
  2. Social Media assist in Communication
  3. Social Media assist in Inspiration
  4. Social Media allow better Introductions

Here is his conclusion:

Like all good things common to man, social media can be either a distraction or a blessing. It depends on what we do with them. Some say they take too much time — which tells me they may not be familiar with tools such as Twitter or Facebook.

Resisting social media and being unengaged in online community is safe but unwise. The gospel was not lost in the move from the scroll to the book, and it won’t be lost in the move from the page to hypertext. Social media are helpful tools that many in your congregation are already using — and your church (including its leadership) needs to be a part of that.

As I consider social media in the twenty-first century, I can’t help but think of the spread of the gospel and the church’s growth in the first century. Communication was greatly aided then by the common language of Koine Greek. Since the New Testament was written in a language accessible to so many, the Word of God was able to penetrate different cultures rapidly. Perhaps today the new media will be the “common language” for the masses to hear the gospel.

Ed Stetzer: The Blessings of the New Media, Tabletalk Magazine, June 2010