If Jesus had appeared in Palestine a few centuries earlier, there would be no Christianity today. Why do I say that? Because the infrastructure the Romans built for trade including roads, shipping, schools, military, and governance, all enabled the rapid spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.

In a similar way, if Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers had been born a century earlier, we would all still be Roman Catholic. In that prior century, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press with movable type technology. This enabled inexpensive, rapid printing of texts and books of all kinds, especially the bible. The Protestant Reformers were able to translate and spread the Word only because of the technological innovation of the printing press.

So, today, I read the Daily Office ( ) on my laptop as I do every day. Morning Prayer comes pre-packaged with scriptures inserted, hymns (if you want to sing), and the Worldwide Cycle of Anglican Prayer all as one, convenient scroll of electronic text. I strongly commend this site to your daily discipline. (Today we commemorate the Rev. James Chisholm, rector of St. John’s in Portsmouth VA in the early 1850s. He ministered to the sick and dying during a yellow fever outbreak. In frail health himself, he died as a result of his exposure.)

The printing press is an example of an incremental improvement of technology and efficiency. Reading Morning Prayer on my laptop is a modern variant of incremental change. The Roman infrastructure at the time of Jesus is an example of radical technology, something entirely new the world had never seen. I am still contemplating the modern-day equivalent.

I wonder if it would be possible for the church to embrace technology today. Can you imagine a social media application that would ONLY allow true information, would not allow bullying or proselytizing, and whose only goal was to praise and glorify God? The social media apps we have right now tend to do more harm than good. They are amplifiers for false information, bullying and organizing hate groups.

Can the church redeem the Internet into a force for goodness? A “Praise and Glory” app is possible. All it takes is prayer, money, and a lot of good software. With God, there is plenteous redemption.

Leave a Reply