Friday, December 26, 2008

Technology hates me

A year ago I put together a marvelous multi-media Christmas experience for use in our Christmas Eve service. While John Doan's ethereal, majestic "O Come, O Come" played over the sound system, the words of Isaiah 9 ever-so-slowly were to scroll across the screen, thus marrying the musical longing for deliverance to the text promising that deliverence in the form of a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And it was set to move methodically, with long pauses, allowing people to meditate deeply on these ancient words.

In an artistic flourish, I used some really cool fonts that, I thought, helped bring out the richness and power of the texts. And so I copied the powerpoint onto a thumb drive, ran it upstairs to our video tech, explained how it worked, and ran back down.

It didn't occur to me that none of those fancy fonts were supported by the computer upstairs.

And so, instead of the Word of God slowly appearing and dissolving on the screen, instead there appeared a series of boxes. And weird symbols. And hieroglyphics. Which really ruined the mood.

(You might remember this incident - it was at this moment that I calmly went to the microphone and began reading Isaiah 9, to try to bring some order back to the assembly. Only, as I read, my contact lens popped out into the darkened sanctuary, and I spent the rest of the night blind in one eye. Which, coincidentally, is how I spent this service, since my eye is still healing from surgery.)

This year I decided to try the same multi-media experience - after all, it never got its fair play last year - but I made sure it worked. Everything was in Times New Roman font. And the video tech and I ran through it together a couple times prior to the show, just to make sure it was working. And it was. Yeah.

And so we reached the spot in the program where the multi-media experience was to take place. The music began. The fist slide went up, the words scrolled beautifully across the screen. "Behold, those living in the shadow of darkness have seen a great light. . ." And then the screen went dark. Which it was supposed to, as a dramatic pause.

But it stayed dark, longer than I thought it was supposed to.

I glanced up into the balcony. . .to see our video tech and her husband frantically pressing buttons on the projector, pulling on cords, and generally fiddling with things.

And the music played beautifully on, the people sat in darkness, and the screen stayed blank. Until the VERY end, when suddenly "The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this" appeared.

Turns out that our projector had chosen that very moment in the service to overheat and turn off, and it took the upstairs people the length of the song to get it back on again.

Now. . .what are the odds of that? The projector NEVER overheats and turns off. I hardly EVER use powerpoint as part of our services. And yet 2 years in a row, on Christmas Eve, things have gone disastrously wrong right in the middle of the same portion of the service. Right when things are supposed to be contemplative and meditative and richly textured, when people are supposed to be drawn into the messianic prophecy from Isaiah - right at that point they are left confused, instead.

It is technology that hates me? Or is God trying to say something?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God is telling you that power point is from the devil! it, is never EVER beautiful. it was a sign that your normal habit of NOT using power point is the right one!
Power Point= Bad Idea.
roshni (and God)