The Washington Post had this fascinating article about "blogging pastors." It is striking to me, having worked in both retail and education, how the Internet cooperates hand-in-hand with "brick-and-mortar" establishments, whether bookstores, seminaries, or churches. It is also striking to me how few mainline Protestants understand (or care to understand) the importance of technology in our present age (as evidence by the fact that so few of them are mentioned in the article and are actively engaged in the blog/internet world).
One illustration of this came to me a couple of weeks ago. I attended the Association of Theological Schools Biennium and went to a seminar on incorporating technology into the seminary curriculum. The presenter was good, although his overview only highlighted the most basic technological incorporation--PowerPoint, CMap, use of Internet resources. However, several of the mainline Protestant deans and presidents kept asking whether their seminaries really needed to invest in technology--"was this the way things were and going to be or simply a current fad that is optional?"
Think about that for a minute--that would have been like the Catholics at the beginning of the Reformation saying, "This printing press thing--do we really need to use it or is it optional?" This amazing reluctance to utilize technology--even to supplement their ministries--is yet another reason why mainline Protestantism is dying.
One last thing on all this--even with evangelical Protestants recognition that various forms of e-media are important for supplementing ministry--another striking thing is how poor most church websites really are. At Covenant Presbyterian Church, we looked at a number of websites before redesigning ours and there were very, very few that could serve as a model. I don't understand how people can spend so much money on facitilites, advertising, and other things that are meant to present a "face" to one's church and fail to spend good money on web communications.