Thursday, September 09, 2010

Being Connected . . . or Not

At some point I heard the observation, “Every strength carried to the extreme becomes a weakness.” I was reminded of that statement in my relationships with technology today. Our digital connectedness can be a blessing, but we shouldn’t “put all our eggs in that basket.” To do so is to limit ourselves.

This morning, I used a telephone bridge line to facilitate a peer group made up of pastors from six states. We are discussing Will Mancini’s book, Church Unique. We miss a lot in not being able to look each other in the face, but their observations and insights always inspire me. We meet every other week, and I always look forward to it.

I then spent an hour working on two classes I am teaching this semester for Central Seminary. One is an online class with monthly telephone conference calls and a weekly online forum. The other is a class I teach in Murfreesboro, but there is an online component with weekly online discussion. The Moodle platform is very robust with a lot of options (many of which I will never use). The only problem is usually my ability to use what’s there. The platform allows the instructor to both share content and provide learning activities; it is fun!

Then I turned to an online video conference that will be available the next two days. Well, there were “technical difficulties” and that webcast is still not available (as I write). Since I am multitasking, I logged on to a daylong webcast sponsored by Leadership Network made up of short (nine minutes) presentations from church leaders around the country. This is not the first time they have attempted something like this, so it works fine. The format really works in this culture where we have short attention spans.

This afternoon I will be able to do a coaching call with a friend in Texas. Here again, face-to-face is preferable, but these conversations are always interesting to me and (I hope) helpful to my friend.

Bottom line is that technology is great but it has its limitations. We should never become completely dependent on it and always have alternatives available. One alternative is to get out and be with real people, so I build that into my schedule as well—committee work at church, speaking at prayer meeting last night, attending a coaches meeting tomorrow, spending time with family and friends. I need all types of connections.  Don't you?

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