Faith, technology and Christianity in Silicon Valley:
The internet and social media present a conundrum for Chuck DeGroat, the pastor at City Church. With a congregation of hip modern professionals, from architects and financial advisers to programmers and venture capitalists, he can’t afford not to have a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or website. And yet, the social media channels that dominate so many of their lives conflict with various Christian principles he hopes they will live by.
‘We follow people on Twitter,’ he says to a half-full church on a recent Sunday. ‘We follow news stories. We follow celebrities. We check boxes to say ‘I’m a fan of this.’ But what does it really mean to follow?’ He launches into a text from Corinthians 1, telling of a city whose people are obsessed with reputation, who boast of their prominent roles in the community. He draws a parallel to today and people’s obsession with how they present themselves online. ‘God is not impressed with your status update,’ he says. ‘He’s impressed with what’s beneath the pretence.’