Christianity in the digital age

If you, like me, have been bothered by a nagging feeling that something dramatic but hard to define is starting to happen to our churches, I have a book for you. In my twenty years supplying churches with furnishings and construction specialties, I’ve enjoyed a certain constancy, from both a business and a spiritual standpoint. As a business, church construction has maintained a fairly consistent growth pattern, with less volatile ups and downs than those of many other businesses. I’ve always assumed that this reflected the relatively stable nature of America’s Christianity, and therefore assumed that changes in the market would necessarily be gradual. As a Christian, I’ve assumed that traditional approaches to Christian living would be as effective in the future as they have been in the past.

I may have been wrong on both counts.

In his book The Millennium Matrix, M. Rex Miller presents interesting insight into church dynamics and Christian life in general. Miller observes that human history can be divided into four ages, based on how we store and distribute information. From the oral culture of ancient times, to the print era brought about by Gutenberg to the broadcast world of 20th century television, he describes how our worldview is shaped in large part by how we communicate ideas. As he peeks into the emerging digital culture and predicts what the implications will be, he shows us a world in which Christianity will change radically in ways we may not expect.

Miller’s Matrix distills this information into a literal chart in the center of the book, which makes a handy summary reference for these concepts. This is a good thing, because the book is not a fast read; his thoughts are deep and his language is precise, requiring focus and concentration to fully absorb.

This book will impact how I view my business, but more importantly, how I view the world and the role the church will take in it. To the extent that my views affect my actions, this book will affect how I live my life.

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