Saturday, July 4, 2009

#33 PowerPoint

Despite the hymnals and organs that many white Christians love, the fact is that digital projectors and PowerPoint now dominate the white Christian contemporary worship experience. PowerPoint is fun for white Christians because it's power that they can point to.

For better or for worse (really for worse), this power has been placed in one man's hands: the church tech guy. Unfortunately, while the tech guy is rich in technological know-how, he is too poor to pay attention. With great power (point) comes great responsibility, and absolute power (point) corrupts absolutely.

There is a major risk/reward to putting so much power in one man's hands- the entire congregation is at the mercy of one man and one mouse. The problem is that the man does not follow along, which leads to a slight delay on everything. During songs, the verse slides will be on a 2-3 second lag time as you lead into the chorus.

Similarly, during the sermon, the tech guy frequently leaves the pastor wriggling like an ordained worm on a hook. The lag time sometimes forces the pastor's hand as he breaks the universally understood "code of silence" between speaker and support staff. The pastor is forced to literally ask "could we put Isaiah 40 up on the screen?"

When this code of silence is broken, the tech guy wakes up because his need for Ritalin has been exposed to the entire congregation (
or assembly). Now the tech guy is on a four-alarm alert, and he's trying to compensate for the many times that he was behind.

This leads to a string of pre-emptive slide changes. While the Pastor is talking, any number of bulleted points, Bible verses, or Biblical maps could be flashing behind him. These images have little or nothing to do with what the Pastor is currently saying, but it sure is entertaining.

Despite the short-comings of the church tech guy, white Christians continue their love affair with the Power Point. This particular love-fest began back in the renaissance with Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam," in which the Italian master captured the essence of the first ever PowerPoint.

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Luther Zwingli said...

editor's note: we're fully aware of alternate, non PowerPoint-type tools to display text for praise and worship songs (e.g. EZ Worship)... unfortunately most white Christians are not.

J. Michael Scholten said...

I love the post, however being the guy running said power point I pride myself on being rather spot on with the slides. I'd say that anyone older than 40 would be slow on the slides, the rest of us know better. Other than that, great post

Michal said...

Not so, JMS, not so. I've been to far too many services with the awkward flipping slides and delays, and sadly, none of the slide men had the excuse of being over 40.

Luther Zwingli said...

JMS: thanks for the comment- it's an honor to actually meet a church tech-guy who takes the gig seriously.

Michal: I think you're on to something... it seems like the "under 40" crowd is actually overconfident in their ability. They take the clicking responsibility for granted, and ironically run into the same delays of the inept "over 40" crowd.

Seems to me that the BEST tech-guy option is like a 10 year old. They have the know how, but they're too scared to mess up.

Dustin Winebrenner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dustin Winebrenner said...

Our church is quite progressive. It allows and has slide women.

Thanks so much for the whole blog. So hilarious and well written. I just read all 33 posts instead of working. Great Christian time stewardship, I know!

Luther Zwingli said...

Dustin, glad to have you aboard! Thanks for the kind words.

The slide women concept is very interesting. Was this controversial? I'm pretty sure that the Bible never mentions anything about female tech support people :)

jennifer said...

Amen and amen.

I spotted a HUGE bright yellow church bus (commercial size) the other day and thought of your site and what you could do with that! White Christians do love to take Jesus on the road :)