NO HEADPHONE AND THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH
It’s coming Friday, and I know it’s going to be a challenge. There is no way around it…things are going to have to change. Going back to my first Sony Sports Walkman, through the Discman, my first iPod, five iPhones, and numerous computers over the years, the 3.5mm headphone jack has been the one constant. And, yet, Apple has dared to eliminate this ubiquitous audio interface in their latest offerings.
Reading numerous pre-announcement commentary about Apple’s decision, and some pre-release reviews, opinions are all over the board. One thing that most reviewers I read agreed on was that whether you like it or not, this is where the market is headed in the near future. Me? I really do not care one way or the other. The house in which I was raised had a reel-to-reel player, a turntable, and an 8-track deck as part of our hi-fi setup in the mid-70’s to early-80’s (in fact, I would not be surprised to see if the old man still has all three somewhere…) so I have been through all the audio technologies of the 20th and early 21st centuries. What strikes me the most is that I have different expectations for each of these audio technologies, and do not try to compare one to another, for each of them had/has a special niche that could not be filled by the other. Thinking through all this got me thinking about how Christian discipleship and the life of the church are also constantly in the process of evolving, with changes to which we may not easily adapt.
Along these lines, too often we in the Christian community of faith get scared about the idea of change. Whether it’s a new translation of the bible, a new worship style, a new song, a new pastor, or a whole host of other things, if we are honest with ourselves, when we dig our heels in about the way things are done or dig our heels in about our preferences, we are missing the point of evangelism. We are missing the point of mission. We are signing our death certificate as a faith community when we steadfastly refuse to consider new ways to adapt our personal and corporate relationship with the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. When we dig our heels in as the people of God and find ourselves closed-minded with respect to any discussion of change, we have forgotten that one of the core reasons for our existence is to introduce those in our sphere of influence to the saving grace of God through Christ and that when any of us accept God’s grace in Christ, we cannot help but change. In other words, who are we to say we are against the possibility of change in our operations sets us up to be looked at as highly hypocritical when we ask of others to accept the change of Christ.
The bottom line is that while the new iPhones may require some change on my part, I’m still going to get what I need – the opportunity to use my phone with headphones/earbuds/whatever. How that interface is designed is changing. Who cares? Does it REALLY matter if I now have to use lightning-enabled headphones or wireless EarPods? Not at all. The delivery system is not nearly as important as that it is delivered.
Church has from it’s earliest days been formed and transformed with respect to the how and where the grace of God incarnate in Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit has been worshiped and glorified. May we never get so caught up in the how that we forget the who…the who being worshipped and the who that is worshipped.
Grace and Peace, Lamar