Writer Jon Katz recently said that news coverage of the Internet lurches “from one extreme to the other.” Either the Net is “a dread menace or it’s a Utopian vision.” Journalism, he concluded, “has been asleep at the switches,” because the Net is “not simply a story about technology, but it’s a revolutionary change in the society and culture.” As a result, journalism “is in the sad position of having to play catch-up, if it can.”
Perhaps the church is playing catch-up as well. Denominations are perplexed about how to use the Net wisely. Most congregations seem divided about new technologies. Religious periodicals are waiting for the dust to settle, hoping to learn from the success or failure of mainstream media in the digital world. Christian colleges are sauntering into the electronic age just in time to hang on to students who would otherwise follow the technology to schools that promise laptop computers and port-per-pillow networks in dormitories.