Why Church Groups Are Going the Way of the Typewriter

courtesy zmescience.com

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe from a church site.  Of course, I linked, gave them credit and said a few warm words about the organization. Done and done.

I’d hoped to drive some traffic their way. I think we’re all in this together. A group doesn’t have to be Lutheran.  The more we get the word out about our projects, efforts, trials, and solutions the more helpful it is for everyone.

And then, I tangled it all up.  I called the organization to let them know, and asked permission to use the  recipe. Well, actually, I emailed a request to the generic address on their site.  I received an email back from the group’s secretary,  who told me to call the president and gave me a phone number.

Uh-oh.  Didn’t this church group ever meet? Pass along information?  And didn’t the president have e-mail?

Turns out she didn’t. Nor did she know what a blog was.  She didn’t even know they had recipes posted on their own site.  And the member whose name was listed with recipe? The president had never heard of her. (Probably died long ago)  The leader kept interrupting my explanations, her questions becoming pointed and tinged with what sounded like ticked-off  suspicion.

Gaaaak! I should’ve use angel food, instead.

My tender little deed was degrading faster than an open container of guacamole. Nope, she wasn’t interested in checking out this blog, or even her own group’s site. “No,” she said sternly, “I will not give you permission to use a lemon cake recipe.”

Oooooo-kay.  Darn. I can’t even help grow traffic to another organization. I was beating myself with the thought:  Why did I even ask? And this is why older church groups are dying off.

 I understand the classic response to blind fear.  When something is unknown, strange or foreign, the immediate knee-jerk reaction is to block everything. I get it. I’ve done it plenty of times.

But it’s so worth our time to update ourselves to make a decision. We may not like change, but it’s here whether we appreciate it or not. According to Beloit’s Mindset List, the  two million young people heading to college….

  • have never worried about a cold war missile strike. During their life time, Russians and Americans have always been living together in outer space.
  • They’ve never even used phones with cords.
  • Few students know how to write in cursive, and latest generations seldom if ever use snail mail.
  • Caller ID has always been available on phones
  • IBM has never made typewriters
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.

(See entire list at: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2012)

  • Consumers are able to customize most everything in their personal life: cars, phones, TV schedules (using DVRs) and for goodness sake…of course, their music.

A plain backpack?  YUCK!  Your Twitter handle makes your water bottle, pack, or jewelry one of a kind and increases your social media branding.

Not just teens, but several generations have grown up using technology. They employ it both as a statement and a personalized style.  They understand it. They feel comfortable with communication at their fingertips.

Hopefully church groups will make the effort to learn about their own websites. Perhaps they’ll even have virtual meetings in chat rooms someday.  Or start a world wide discussion under #tweets. Maybe we can even link and support each other?

Because the best way to overcome fear of change is with education.   It’s time. There aren’t many typewriters around anymore.

(And if you’d like to be exposed to other cultures, lifestyles and mind-broadening experiences, check out. Lesley Carter’s travel site)


20 thoughts on “Why Church Groups Are Going the Way of the Typewriter

  1. Pingback: Secret Back rooms and Church Keys | Lutheran Ladies Circle

  2. I was hooting with laughter (sorry), and then realized it was kinda sad. And I LOVE the prior comment about it being easier to get forgiveness than permission; sometimes–and then other times, you get neither. This is good stuff, and the only reason I’m quitting is that I seriously have to get to bed tonight–but I’ll click Follow! God bless you–love, sis Caddo

  3. I had to smile when I read this post…I’ve had similar experiences with ministry and church groups. There is a fear of the Internet out there, and it’s too bad because groups could really support each other.

    • Thanks for commenting Judith. Yes, it seems strange to me A lot of these folks have ventured into Facebook, but I guess that’s like dipping a toe in the water and they’re not ready to wade in waist-deep, yet.

  4. As an artist, I find it hard to understand why anyone would think it is their right to use my creation without asking for permission first. I create things for people to enjoy, but not to take and use to make a living on. Believe me, I have found it to be true, that some people believe they can just take my work and use it for their own gain… without even asking me. I would think it is unChristian to use my creation without at least asking permission and letting me decide if that use would hurt or harm me.

    • Unfortunately, this has happened to all of us who’ve put our work out there. It’s been a huge problem with music (ask most teens; They can tell you how to get “free” music.)
      The publishing world is fighting with it now. I’ve even disabled the DRM protection on some of my books because I want folks to be able to transfer from Kindle to ipad or all their devices if they choose. Cheaters know how to strip the protection off anyway.
      It is a problem. And as you note, it’d be wonderful if everyone would check with the author/artist/designer and give them a chance to be generous…but that doesn’t always happen. So… the best, most calming attitude for my soul is not to fret about it much. I’ve found most folks to be generous and at least trying to do the right thing.

  5. Since I’ve been publishing other people’s work for a very long time, I learned before I ever started out to get permission FIRST. Some people have a difficult time with others trying to “upgrade” them into a world they don’t understand and will never understand, and I really feel we have to accept that too. Many old groups are run by volunteers with heartbreaking stories in thier lives. Some are dealing with cancer and I know of one who is running a few things with such sever back trouble she spends more time in a doctor’s office than she can afford to keep up with everything. So please, everyone… just check before you use anything of anyone else’s. Most of the time you get a great response and make a new friend along the way.
    In the event that you wish to use something without asking permission, you must change is so dramatically that it can not be confused with what you are thinking of using now.
    But we have some really tragic clashes going on between some people who can not keep up with the fast pace of change and those who could crare less what happens to them.
    I think you would have found in your call in this case a sitution where you would have been in the right because you did call first… and you could have turned the table on the “snippy” person to find out what was going on and why they were using a recipe without permission. Perhaps there’s a learning experience in all of this for all of us.

    • Hi Merrill, Thanks for stopping by. You’re right. The learning experience I took away was about fear. It’s like those people at the fair who are waving you over to their booth, with “Can I ask you a question?”
      And I scoot away as though they were a hive of live honey bees, fearing I won’t be able to say “No.” Fear of spending money, I don’t want to. Fear of losing time on something I don’t know anything about and think I don’t want to learn about.
      My hope was that we’d ALL look at the reasons we say NO.
      And as you say…there’s a learning experience here.

    • Hi Judy…I know the rascally me often thinks…oh…I’ll just ask for forgiveness. But then the Better-Than-Me me, goes on and on about how hard it is to dig out of a hole when I run over a relationship. There’s so much more patchwork to do…even on my own psyche…even if I don’t want a relationship with this person. It’s a constant war between ME and Me. I’m still a work in progress.

  6. Yes, I’ve travelled down that road a time or two as well.

    It’s hard for church groups to get new members to volunteer because when they do, they aren’t allowed to work because others have “assigned” tasks and no one else could possibly help. Tradition can be the glue that holds an organization together, but it can also be the door that keeps others out.

    • OOOOOOh. Don’t you just love to hear the phrase…”But we don’t do it that way.” Of course, there may be a reason they don’t do it that way, but it’s freeing to at least listen to other ideas and check them out. Like there’s a reason the cat doesn’t sleep in the garage. He tracks muddy prints all over the cars…(just sayin’)

  7. Oh, goodness. How familiar this sounds!

    (And by the way, in church-group matters, I’ve come to live by the maxi, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” Hahahasigh.)

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