Monday, August 04, 2008

What Leadership Requires

Who said this? "The United States' responsiveness to new technologies was the chief virtue separating it from Europe?" Sounds like Al Gore, Bill Gates or Matt Drudge. But the quote came from Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Lincoln insisted on using the telegraph to keep current with the events of the nation and during the Civil War.
The article about this in Sunday's NYT's Week In Review" is a commentary on whether one criterion for the next President is his awareness of and familiarity with cutting edge technology in communication. It's not so much about his personal use of email, blogs and facebook, but his comprehension of the impact of digital communication.
As I read this article it made me wonder about the same criteria for leaders in the church. Should those of us who are pastors see it as our sacred responsibility to keep up with the way our congregations send and receive information and interact with culture? Should pastors be competent with wii? I clearly have a bias of "yes."
The challenge for future leaders is how to be both familiar and conversant with a digitized community, but also how to be free from the encroachments 24/7 wi-fi can make on a person's life. Pastors need to live on the razor-blade of immersion and solitude. That's not an easy tension. When one is always connected, we expect instant information with little reflection and less solitude. That creates (at least in me) a kind of spiritual ADD, I'm wired for sound with quick opinions, but show a shallowness of heart and mind.


At 10:03 PM , Blogger Isaac Johnson said...

Paul could have insisted on personal visits but instead wrote long letters, presumably to cover more ground than could be done in sequential visits. Thank god be did! Maybe the new new testament will consist of emails and archived blog posts. Council of Trent by online polls?


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