Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting Saved - There's an App for That

The New Yorker explores how churches are incorporating digital technology in their communities.

From the piece...

The question of how, exactly, digitized texts will change religious practice has been a pressing one in religious communities for at least a decade. (A recent article in Christianity Today wondered whether the People of the Book shouldn’t be rechristened the People of the Nook.) But the era of digital religion is only now poised to begin in earnest, ushered in by technological advancements—the widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones—and by religious leaders eager to harness the power of that technology to inspire and instruct their flocks.

Last week, I contacted leaders of several religious institutions in New York and asked about how the digital was being used in their communities. Cregan Cooke, the director of communication and media at Redeemer Presbyterian, Manhattan’s best-known megachurch, told me that parishioners use mobile devices during services to look up Bible verses; that pastors like having multiple translations of the Bible on their tablets to refer to “whenever they’re away from their physical libraries”; and that the church has recently developed its own app, which contains a sermon podcast and community news. It’s been downloaded more than twenty-five thousand times.

This isn’t surprising at a church whose senior pastor, Tim Keller, is an Internet video star with his own publishing imprint. But more traditional congregations have also eagerly embraced digital technology. Kevin Gabriel Gillen, a Dominican friar at the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, wrote me that iBreviary is in common use in the church. “Walking into a chapel with an iPhone may raise the eyebrow of another friar, because they may think you are about to make a phone call or text, but the iPad seems to be accepted.”

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