Technology – Distraction or Direction?

Recently I’ve been listening to a podcast on my commute called “Geeks and God.” Yes, I am a geek. I geek-out on video, audio, web, computers in general, electronics, and anything else that can be considered “tech.” I’ll talk about it for hours – even to the detriment of other things that I should be doing. Well, this podcast had an¬†episode called “The Whiz-Bang Factor” from December 15, 2008. It’s an awesome episode that really made me think.

Am I a video guy or am I a Christian who does video? Am I a web guy or a Christian who does web? What defines me? What defines you? If you are defined by what you do and not who you are (better yet, Whose you are), you have the wrong focus. For the real bite, when people ask who you are, are you a (insert job or hobby here) guy (or girl) or are a Christian who does (insert job or hobby here).

This gets to the actual thing I wanted to blog about – what is the purpose of technology in worship? Is it a distraction or does it give direction? While I love technology and use it daily, hourly, and almost minutely (is that even a word?), it can often become a distraction. And I don’t just mean fancy videos. Technology can be almost anything. An organ is technology (from quite a while ago) and can be distracting by those who aren’t used to it or, even worse, have bad memories associated with it. An acoustic guitar is technology and can be distracting by those who aren’t used to it. The question is this: who is the church trying to reach, what technologies are distracting (or biblically, can cause them to stumble), and what technologies point in the direction of God and bring glory to Him. Whether it be organ, microphone, guitar, video, or lights, if it’s used to bring God glory and doesn’t cause the majority of your congregation to stumble, I say use it! In the words of Kip, “Yes, I love technology!” But, as I said earlier, it’s something I do, not who I am. I am first and foremost a follower of Christ.

DMX Cables vs. Microphone Cables

So, after an all-nighter Friday night with Alex, Tanner, Lance, Paul, Matt, Smooth, and Tim reprogramming all the lights and a half-nighter (new word?) Saturday with Smooth rerunning a ton of cables. The reason for all this work turned out to be related to using microphone cables instead of DMX cables. We would get intermittent strobing on the LED lighting and random movement on the moving head LEDs. Since replacing the cables (and making the run way shorter), we haven’t had a single glitch. Ah, the joys of cables.

Switchers

So I’ve narrowed down the video switchers I like to two. Just so everyone knows, this is just for research purposes right now, but I’m trying to figure out which switcher would suit Journey best in the future, as well as what would work at Southeastern. I like these two.

Panasonic B AV-HS400

Panasonic AV-HS400 A

Panasonic AV-HS400 A

Panasonic AV-HS400 A - Read Panel

Panasonic AV-HS400 A - Rear Panel

This is my favorite choice. If we go HD-SDI, it’s a must. Making it work on all analog component would be more pricey, though, since we’d need more expansion cards. We’d already have to get one for computer input (or get an card for our computer to output in the right format). It does some awesome stuff, though. Our cameras to HD-SDI output at 1080i, so that would work.

Edirol V-440HD

Edirol V-440HD

Edirol V-440HD

Edirol V-440HD - Rear Panel

Edirol V-440HD - Rear Panel

This is our other option. It has a SD side on the left, which is then mixed down and up-converted to HD on the right. It takes component, composite, and VGA and can output component. Another workable option. Our cameras can also output component.

iPhone

So I got an iPhone last Saturday. Have you ever heard a Blackberry referred to as a “Crackberry?” Well, an iPhone is even more addictive. I’ve been having to recharge it multiple times a day – not because of a bad battery, but because I use it almost non-stop. My Macbook is feeling insanely neglected because now I check my email and even edit some web pages straight from my phone. Strange, huh? It’s my iPod, phone, flashlight, iTunes remote, and even VNC client. Crazy. What would we do without technology? Probably actually be productive. Speaking of which, I should be that right now.