digital awakening

4‘No. 17’
An inventor of more than 150 intellectual properties, Barry Goldfarb has created a patent-pending technology—now known only as “No. 17”—that unlocks the information contained in audio recordings, transforming old recordings made before stereo into what sounds like a “real-life acoustical event.”

“I demonstrated a musical piece by Louie Armstrong in the 1940s, and it was as if Louie Armstrong appeared right in the room with his orchestra,” says Goldfarb, the co-founder of BSG Technologies LLC.

“It’s a marvelous thing to release what is locked in these old recordings. But even with today’s music, we’ve had conductors and recording company owners here at my labs, and if you take what you think is a great, state-of-the-art digital CD and pop it into our system, it’s like night and day. I put on something by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and the bass was shaking our teeth, and it sounded like you were there right before them. It’s not subtle at all.”

Goldfarb, a child prodigy who nearly lost his hearing as a youth and believes God gave him a “gift to see into His realms,” says the technology will transform the sound systems for churches and other ministries. “When a pastor speaks, it will sound to everyone like he’s talking right in front of them, but quietly,” Goldfarb says.

Currently, most contemporary churches use the same sound systems used for rock ’n’ roll concerts. But Goldfarb says churches are a unique sound environment and need unique sound systems. “When people hear this sound, I think they will say, ‘Gee, I’ve never heard a sound like that before,’ and they will be running to church just to hear the sound,” Goldfarb says. 

“There have been numerous prophets who have come here and said to me with tears in their eyes that God has been promising a new sound. It’s been spoken of in many churches around the world, and the prophets who have come here have said this is that sound.”

5VAV Media
Helping churches and ministries create their own mini-Internet TV stations, Hollywood-based VAV Media uses an innovative technology to broadcast programming to Web sites and mobile phones. Helena Hwang, founder and chief executive officer of VAV Media, says her company partners with RAYV, which developed a television-over-Internet Protocol similar to the technology behind Skype, that allows ministries such as Harvest International Ministry and Rhema Ministries to broadcast programming over the Internet. “We’re giving ministries and media companies the ability to use cutting-edge technology that is lower cost, higher quality and scaleable,” says Hwang, a former vice president of TheCall prayer movement. “In addition we integrate the interactivity of Facebook, Twitter, chat and other widgets.”

VAV Media sets up a television “control room” by installing the broadcast software on ministry computers. “They can basically have their own TV station from their church,” Hwang says. “It gives believers access to the media airwaves. Ministries around the world can have live shows. And if there is a crisis somewhere, they can offer content from a biblical worldview.”

The Power of Connection
Despite the dizzying array of media and technology impacting the church and the way it shares the gospel with the world, Shane Hipps, a teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., and author of Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith, says he wants to raise awareness about the “hidden power of the media” and how the “message changes when we change the method.”

Since the electronic revolution of the late 1800s, the telegraph, telephone, radio, television, Internet and mobile devices have replaced the printed word as the dominant mode of communication. As scientists study how these changes have affected people’s brains, Hipps says they have discovered a repatterning of neuro-pathways.

As a result, the culture has changed from a left brain one—focused on logic and linear, sequential thinking—to a right hemisphere one preoccupied with intuition, relationship and holistic experience.  “In this new world, people care more about your behavior and practices rather than your beliefs and ethics,” Hipps says.

Similarly, the church has changed from one focused on doctrine, dogma and abstract beliefs to one more concerned with concrete experience and ethical practices, Hipps says. “The digital age has merely amplified and intensified the electronic age,” says Hipps, whose latest book “takes readers beneath the surface of things to see how the technologies we use end up using us.”

“The effect is practically nuclear,” Hipps continues. “One of the big changes is that we’ve become increasingly disembodied with our faces buried in computer monitors or small screens that we hold in the palm of our hands. We’ve become digital nomads, wandering around the globe without a body.”

Although the electronic culture is expansive, connecting Christians with people around the world, Hipps says believers are losing touch with the “immense power of the incarnation, which is that God became a body for a reason.”

“God did not remain an ethereal, detached Spirit, but transformed into a body because there is something about a presence in one another’s lives physically that is actually very transformative,” Hipps says.

The transformative power of our physical presence can’t be conveyed over a computer screen, in an e-mail, text or tweet or even over the telephone, Hipps adds. So although all the latest electronic gadgets and devices are revolutionizing the way churches and ministries fulfill the Great Commission, Hipps says people need to remember that Jesus calls us to love others too—something best done one-on-one. “I think plenty of the good news can be conveyed [electronically],” he says, “but I think more of the good news is conveyed in relationships with people.” 

Troy Anderson is a freelance journalist based in Southern California. Although he doesn’t consider himself a digerati, he once created a computer role-playing game based on the book of Acts.

Watch video demonstrations of some of these inventions at

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