Smartphone Christianity

I have to but wonder what Lucian would think of smartphone Christianity? – –

In many ways developers of religious apps are no different from their secular counterparts. Everyone is trying to take a desired habit (in this case, prayer or scripture reading) and make it more painless, easier, and more deliverable. The word “frictionless” pops up often. YouVersion will send you a gentle reminder if you haven’t made much progress on the plan you selected, and give you a few helpful hints for keeping up. Abide provides an array of recorded prayers users can listen to so that they can learn how to pray.

Evangelical Christianity is very interested in cultural relevance. One of its flagship magazines is actually called RELEVANT; church services have been streaming online ever since the technology was made available; pastors trumpet their love of U2 and Sufjan Stevens as badges of being with it. With the demise of Christian separatist communities and the crumbling of the moral majority’s denunciation of culture, Christians are increasingly adapting to existing cultural norms, in this case, those of the tech sector. In a 2014 New Yorker article, Casey Cep compared this phenomenon to a “FitBit” for the soul, and she’s not wrong. In the quest to live quantified lives, we can set reminders for ourselves to exercise, eat well, and now, to pray. And it makes sense, if we think of the spiritual life as a discipline, that it could benefit from some of the same techniques that have reimagined the way people approach fitness.


Inside the Christian app boom: It turns out prayer and smartphone habits go well together
By Laura Turner on December 20, 2015 12:30 pm

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