God in the Age of Apps

First it was dialing. In the 80s it was all about paging. The 90s gave us email. The new millennium was texting.  Now, it’s all about the app.

God is not exempt from technology. To keep God relevant, everyone is helping God stay abreast of technology. The last time I looked, there were over 7 pages of religious apps in the iTunes App Store…that’s just for iPhones and iPads. I haven’t even looked in the Android App Store or the Web OS market.

A new app, Confessions, has captured a lot of attention these past few days. The app was developed to help Catholics engage in confession more fully with this digital technology. It’s even been sanctified by the church powers. It doesn’t replace confession, but it does help to prompt acknowledgement of your sin, even giving you some “sin” suggestions! One online author was going to purchase the $1.99 app  “if only to see if the app scales to the demands of a devout sinner.”

I must confess, I am awed by the lengths we will go to to remain distracted in our relationship with God. Do I really need an app to keep myself focused on my sin (and guilt) or do I want to engage with the God of grace? Will accessing a “saint oracle” really give me better guidance than dedicating myself to prayer and meditation? Are my prayers more likely to be heard if I login to the latest social media prayer chain?

I’m all for new technology; after all, at one time the printing press was a new technology and it gave the people the ability to read the Bible for themselves. While technology can e-nhance our relationship with God, we must ensure that it never e-rases the most important part: the personal relationship.

Your e-bonus: Maureen Dowd’s New York Times Op-Ed article.

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