Internet and Missions
We had a meeting of the IT | Church | Culture
group yesterday. The theme was Internet and Missions
and we had three local mission leaders speaking.
I'd planned to use the cricket as an excuse if we had poor numbers - arrange a meeting and you always feel guilty if people don't turn up... The cricket was rained off, part of our new winter-in-summer policy, so I used the rain as excuse instead - aren't we humans adaptable ;)
The talk was fascinating. For me it highlighted the Maori answer to the question about what is most important "he tangata, he tangata, he tangata
" - it's people, people, people!
One common concern was security, mission agencies often have contact with Christians in difficult places, sometimes governments or terrorist organisations would like to stop them, even kill them.
A mission director wary of giving away too much info in the "wrong" places encodes his emails to some contacts with PGP, but he is glad that he can take a copy of his orgasnisation's database with him on his laptop when he travels!
- The issues this raises are of several sorts:
- technological: how secure can you make this information or this network?
- human: how might the director change his habits?
- cultural: "information tends to be free" is not merely an economic truth!
- But there are also theological issues:
- How far can it be Christian to hold back the truth?
- What does it mean to be human in a world were technology is reinforcing the truth of the claim that "information tends to be free"?
In some ways the technology changes everything, in others it changes nothing. It's people, stupid!