Oh, You Crazy Internet

O Rly?

From the "Captain Obvious" department:


One key moment in the article:

"what a person does in cyberspace is quite different than what someone can do face-to-face in an actual conversation."

This should seem pretty clear to those of us who have been using the web for a long time. All kinds of outlandish opinions, pagan/satanic religious beliefs, deviant behavior, and imagery seem to run unchecked via the Internet. It might have something to do with the perception of anonymity, but historically the most "edgy" behavior and conversations seem to be at home here.

But What About Music?

I know, I'm supposed to be talking about Music--Church Music, specifically. I've had a run of interesting articles that talk about how computers are directly involved in an historic cultural and social decline. What does that have to do with guitars and fog machines in church?

The connection is there, in three places:

  • As our attention spans and cognitive skills are warped through constant stimulation, our expectations for other, less screen-based mediums change. Who would have thought to replace an altar with a movie screen in the front of a house of worship 50 years ago? We had the technology then, but it was generally unthinkable. Now, unless it's explictly "technological," nobody's intersted in it. Gone are the Bach motets, bring in the PowerPoints!
  • It's a known axiom in web design that "less is more." That's why I'm using bullet points here: nobody wants to scroll through endless paragraphs of careful exposition. How does "less is more" affect discourse and argumentation? There was once an uproar over the use of "sound bytes" in 1980s news programs. These were brief aphorisms that were regarded as truth, even though there was no real substance behind them. Most of the Internet is built of sound bytes. Traditional forms of Music then, become intolerably dull and long-winded.
  • Since media and technology companies are normally run by atheists and pagans, a surprising percentage of the news sites tend to regard Classical Christianity with amusement and/or hostility. Constant exposure to this can surely only bring difficulties for the Christian. A type of filter exists, that allows only the most generic fragments of the faith to the surface, and these are almost never done in a sympathetic or orthodox way; in fact many of them are designed to sow doubt (various gnostic novels and movies).

In our current techno-cultural context, it's easy to see how humble yet historic vehicles such as the chorale have been tossed aside. Our loss, too, for the vast majority of hymns in our hymnals are ahistoric: that is to say, they were written to address contemporary needs and/or heresies, but always with a mind toward being relevant to the unchanging teachings of our Lord. Our culture, fascinated with constant churn and overstimulation has no time for these things--to our peril.