As the big “Theology After Google” event closes down, it finally strikes me: this major conference wasn’t really about Google. In one sense, it wasn’t even about technology. At a deeper level, it was about two questions: should the church adapt to the rapidly changing world around us? And, if so, what precisely should we do?
Should the church adapt? Well, imagine the alternative. Indeed, there’s an easy way to see it up close and personal: just go to the websites of the critics of the Theology After Google (TAG) conference. Ken Silva called the TAG conference a “heresy fest” and, later, “nothing more than a warped and toxic twisting of the actual Christian faith.” You — each of you, each reader — has to decide for himself or herself. I encourage you to go to Ken’s blog and read it with an open mind. In the same vein, I’d encourage you to watch the professors at Southern Baptist Theology Seminary tear apart Brian McLaren’s newest book, A New Kind of Christianity, in a panel discussion. Decide for yourself whether adapting to the world (and the people!) around us amounts to selling Christianity down the river.
You may agree with Ken and the irrate professors. Or you may even think that our TransformingTheology project — the call for the church to adapt to an emerging world and emerging technologies — is even worse than Ken thinks. Perhaps the TAG conference, and the present writer, should be put on his sidebar of dangerous leaders, alongside Rick Warren (and, if you follow the links on Rick, alongside “radical Roman Catholic apostates such as Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the militantly pro-Roman Catholic Church spiritual Gestapo Unit known as the Jesuits”).
On the other hand, you may endorse the motif that ran through every speaker and every workshop at the Theology After Google event: we best follow Jesus by attempting to be Christ-like to the people around us … by attempting to meet them where they are. Using new technologies, and thinking in new ways about our faith are part of that. The central Christian questions and concerns are still our concerns, but the answers can be affected by the new things we’re learning and the new conversations we’re having.
It really is a choice. Ken Silva and the Southern Baptist seminary professors really do embody a different attitude toward the world “after Google” than we do. Which way will you choose?