I watch Food Network. I willingly watch Food Network.
Recently I was watching Iron Chef America. Iron Chef America is a cooking show with a game show like feel. Two chef’s have an hour to create five dishes using a secret ingredient. A panel then judges the dishes based on taste, creativity, and use of the secret ingredient. I happened to stumble upon “Battle Beets” where challenger Homaro Cantu took on Iron Chef Mashar Morimoto.
It was amazing. Cantu uses technology in his cooking. In “Battle Beets” he used a high end laser to caramelize edible packing material. Sushi was made with edible paper that had gone through a printer he had invented with pictures printed on each sushi roll. My favorite was his use of liquid nitrogen to create beet balloons.”
Fascinated with this, I dug a little deeper on Homaro Cantu. He’s a chef, inventor, and molecular gastronomer. He owns a restaurant and a design firm.
As I was watching the show, I was thinking that what Cantu was doing, while really cool, was mostly some high-tech bells and whistles. But, he wowed the judges over, not just with those bells and whistles, but the food looked great and tasted better. It wasn’t some stunt with the intent of over shading the food. It was good food.
Now, I consider myself about in the middle of the technology continuum. I’m ahead of some, but behind others. But going a little deeper on how Cantu used technology effectively in a meal got me thinking a little bit about using technology in the church.
Technology is out there. It’s constantly changing. It’s a tool with huge potential. But the problem comes when the technology overshadows the message…or when the technology becomes the message (with respect to Mr. McLuhan). As a result of my pondering, I came up with a couple thoughts regarding technology and the church.
1. Technology should compliment not just the message, but the mission and the values of the church. For Cantu, the design compliments the food. The liquid nitrogen balloon beet only added to the goal of having it taste good.
2. Use technology to tweak the usual. Cantu has three patent pending (along with hundreds of applications) where he applies new technologies and designs to the usual. He invented a fish-steaming box using high-tech polymers. On Iron Chef, he served one of his dishes with a spoon whose handle was twisted like a long corkscrew and in it, he inserted a large sprig of rosemary to add another sense to the experience. We do this in the church already. Instead of sermons on cassettes we have podcasts. The snail mail newsletter has been replaced with the email version. In what other areas can technology tweak and give new life to the usual?
3. How can technology help with thinking outside the box? If you fail to finish a course at his restaurant, you will receive a refund of sorts: a phony dollar bill flavored to taste like a cheeseburger and fried. He produces a printout of a cow that you can eat. It taste like filet mignon. He has even begun creating inserts for magazines that are edible. Eat your heart out Willy Wonka! What outside the box idea do you have? Is there some technology that can move you toward that?
I’m curious. All of you techno-church planters and pastors who are ahead of me on the technology curve…what piece of technology or design is helping you fulfill your mission and move toward your vision? What can’t you live without?