Will you miss the PC?

Are we now in the “post-PC era”? PC shipments are down (year to year) for the first time in 2 years.

Have you moved into the PC era yet, now that it is over, or at least very likely on its way out?

I recall reminiscing yesterday about my first PC – in 1990 or so, it came with a whopping 40 MB hard drive.  I was so excited.  I followed the proceedings of the 1992 General Conference on a BBS.   At that time I couldn’t have imagined email, digital photos, or blogging; much less being able to do all those from a phone that was connected (by wire) to nothing.

I can’t help but wonder, as the world rolls along, what this kind of progression means in terms of the direction the church takes.  I’ve blogged quite a bit recently about the state of decline in the United Methodist Church and american denominations in general.  There’s more talk and writing and blogging and vlogging and tweeting than ever about what can and should be done to fix things….

Then I read that we may already be in a post-PC era.  Are we in a post-denomination era?  What does church look like if we are?  I remain absolutely convinced that the church (as in the people of God who, by mutual accountability and commitment to one another) will live on.  I am less convinced that any of the particular current forms which claim to embody the church will live on.

I finished reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma last night. Rachel asked me if I felt more (than ever) convicted about our food choices.  I said no; that the book (which I highly recommend) did have me thinking along those lines, but not in a drastically different or self-degrading way.

Rather, I am intrigued at the polarity Pollan describes between an industrial and a biological way of functioning.  I’ll blog later about this as it relates to renewal in the UMC and faithfulness to Jesus, but for now it makes me wonder:

Are we in a post-traditional-model-of-church era?  If we are, does it really make any sense at all to spend time, resources, lives, etc., on figuring out how to “go back to” some prior time now deemed as better, healthier, livelier than today?

I mean, I am not going back to that 1990 PC.

2 thoughts on “Will you miss the PC?

  1. “Are we in a post-traditional-model-of-church era? If we are, does it really make any sense at all to spend time, resources, lives, etc., on figuring out how to “go back to” some prior time now deemed as better, healthier, livelier than today?”

    Post these questions as statements, and I would say that you hit the nail on the head. “You can’t go home again” — was it Thomas Wolfe that said that? Or, maybe more accurately, you can go home but home won’t be the same because you aren’t the same.

    For me at least, part of having faith is maintaining a faith that God knows where we are going … and that so often in human history, what seemed like a death or decline, really was a process of total transformation. Being finite beings, we aren’t privy to the big picture (the “God’s-eye view” so to speak).

    I don’t worry so much about the church as an institution. I do have some individuals that I worry about when I see their lives totally derailed … and I believe that the church AS an institution, in the past, has served as a plumb-line or guide to help people navigate a relationship with God and to make good decisions in the world. I don’t know who or what is going to fill the vacuum. I guess part of my faith is also that God is in charge of that.

  2. Steve, you post two different sets of questions, and I want to take the time to first speak about the post PC era. No, I don’t believe we are living in a post PC era. (I am frustrated I type ear every time I want to type era.) PC shipments are down most likely because of simple market saturation. That coupled with the variety of computing devices which crowd the market. I am not the most tech savvy person. I would say I am just an average mid 30s guy. I enjoy technology, use it, but don’t follow it very closely. I still struggle to put together a power point, or an excel spreadsheet.
    That being said, in my household usage we have 1 PC, 2 laptops, 1 netbook, 1 Nook colour, 1 kindle, one Web OS phone, and 1 Android phone. We are a married couple so that explains a bit of the 2’s of certain things like the phones. The thing is we aren’t married to one particular device, and use them all differently. I use the PC at work. I enjoy sitting at my desk, having a big screen, and enjoying the speed a PC generally provides. I don’t need to move the device. Much of the information I work on is web based, and while the device is not, the information is. I use my lap top for most home use. I am writing on it right now. I like that I can lay in bed and use it, it has a large enough screen to watch online shows with the wife, and I can play DVDs on it, and it has USB and SD card slots. Handy.
    Diane’s nook is what we took on vacation though. We can read books, do some web surfing, including checking email, and it is uber light and easy to use. It also has crossword puzzles on it which I enjoy.
    Phones are phones. Amazingly, they do just about everything. Yesterday I was out of town, (enjoying myself on Lake Travis in the afternoon actually). While on the boat, I was able to get online and look up some information with regards to some radio advertising, did a short interview for the news paper, checked and responded to emails, and collaborated on a worship service. I did all that on a phone. I didn’t need a PC, or laptop, or nook, to do that. I just needed my phone.
    All that to say the PC is just part of the device portfolio of the average American, not the sole computing device. They are in no way obsolete though.

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