“Everyone used to know the worship rules, and now we don’t. It’s that simple, which means that things are getting more complex,” said Lee Rainie, the Pew Research Center’s director of Internet, science and technology research. He is also the co-author of the book “Networked: The New Social Operating System.”
Every venue in public life “has its own context,” he said, “and you can’t write a set of social-media rules that will apply in all venues. Using technology to enrich our own spiritual experiences is one thing, while interrupting corporate worship is another. … People are going to have to ask if that phone is pulling them deeper into worship services or if they’re using it to disengage and pull out of the experience.”
This storm has been building in the pews for more than a decade, and religious leaders will not be able to avoid it, according to new work by the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. A survey found that 92 percent of adults own cellphones and 90 percent carry them most of the time. Nearly half say they rarely turn off these devices and nearly a third said they never turn them off — period.