Why screens don't belong in our sanctuaries

Why Screens don't belong in our sanctuaries

Screens are contingent. They require power, they require data, they require an intelligent operator. God's Word is not contingent. A hymnal is not contingent.

Screens are temporal. Screens only show the immediate moment, they lack context in the flow of liturgical worship. Worship becomes a sequence of moments divorced from the flow of God's giving and our receiving and responding. The speed of worship becomes 30 Hz instead of the call and response of God and the penitent.

Screens lack contextual clues. Screens can only show the immediate moment and cannot be placed relative to the other elements of worship.  A worshipper cannot pause and step backwards to ruminate or satisfy a theological curiosity, instead he is dragged forward by an arrow key and PowerPoint. The hymnal provides contextual clues and shows what is behind and what is ahead. A hymnal places the moment in context with the whole. The page on which you are is relative to other hymns, other liturgical elements, other prayers. 

Screens lack sensory engagement. Screens can only glaze over the eyes. The use of a hymnal ravishes the senses. The sense of touch as fingers peruse pages. The sense of smell from an old musty tome. The sound of pages turning. The physical distance between the hymns and their relative organization in the hymnal. Learning is associated with the use of multiple senses - we learn more from the hymnal than from a screen.

Screens are associated with the profane. Screens make blasphemous claims on their viewers. Entertainment centers around sex and violence. Propaganda is foisted on viewers by the evening news and commercials. These associations are carried into the sanctuary and these subconscious claims color the performance of a digitized liturgy.

Screens have a very short time preference. God is eternal. Screens are at enmity with God.

Screens lower worship to the realm of the common. Worship becomes something fungible with watching TV or serving your employer. Worse yet, churches will do technology worse than the TV station or the employer. They are competing in a game they cannot win.

Church should be a sanctuary from screens.