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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

June 18, 2010


I needed a new computer. So I went to a computer store.

It was fine. Sleek computers spread around the show room. Everything crisp and clean. Lots of light. The walls were… well, I’m not sure. The computers were the décor and I doubt anyone else noticed the walls.

My computer had given up the ghost with a little help from me and the front tire of my car. (Another story for another time. I consider myself a personal stimulus package for the computer industry.) I, and the work of the church, would seemingly come to a stop and so there was no question about another computer, and real quick.

A hip salesman asked if he could help. I told him just what I needed and said that I was not making movies or playing complex video games. I write on my computer. I store my music on my computer. I pointed to the one I needed. He said, “Good choice.” I felt affirmed. I bought.

He took a phone-type thing out of his pocket and made a few entries and said, “Come over here, Leroy will bring the new computer out of the back room. I don’t want you to walk too far” (he said, looking at my gray hair).

Leroy appeared 25 seconds later, computer in hand.

“You can pay me in cash, check or credit card,” said my salesman.

I handed him my credit card. He swiped it on his “phone.”  He asked for my email address, “to send you a receipt. And I’ll print out a receipt here too.” He entered a couple things in the “phone.” Walked across the sales floor and retrieved a printout from a machine under the counter.

“Here you go. Thanks for shopping with us.”

And I was gone. It took 12 minutes (half the time I spent looking at the really expensive computers which I knew I was not going to buy, but I just wanted to handle them).  I never saw a cash register. I saw no pencils or paper. Just sleek computers. Every one there was young… (…er than me). The customers and salespeople were comfortable in that environment. The oldest machine there was probably a few months out of development. The oldest person there was probably me.

So, I have to wonder, whenever I am confronted with the face of tomorrow…..how can the church possibly keep up?

As minister, I deal in ancient words and an Ancient God. I remind folks that they should love their neighbor, when today you never see your neighbors and the term “neighbor” can mean someone in a computer game in China or on Facebook in Bolivia . “My” music is hymns, some of which are a couple hundred years old, and we accompany them on a pipe organ, something from the middle ages. I ask people to lift up their prayers, announcements and actually touch hands and look someone in the eye and greet them verbally with the “peace of Christ” when we “pass the peace.”

And maybe, that’s just it. It is not a case of us “keeping up.” People can and do move forward technologically. And I hope we continue to do so. And the church can try to become “hip” and “with it.” But there is an inherent problem with that, in order to be “hip” you have to re-invent yourself every couple months. Religion and worship don’t stand up well to re-invention twice a year.

Yes, we have an excellent website. I guess this is a type of blog. But we seem to be doing quite well with the ancient words of scripture as we seek to apply them to today. Our old and new hymns are constantly enlivened by the enthusiasm of our musicians, choir, kids’ choirs, music director, bell choir, kids’ bells, Trocair Quartet, piano solos or a lively organ accompaniment. We laugh and listen and cry and greet one another with hugs and handshakes and when it is all over, we try to look casual as we hope to be in the first wave of parishioners out of the sanctuary and up to the tables in the narthex filled with cookies, cake and coffee and punch. And heartfelt conversation. And it occurs to me, “WE are the face of tomorrow!”

And it begs the question… “how can the computer store possibly keep up??”

Peace, Rev. Bob (I can be “hip”) Tussing

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