I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I love it when it makes my life easier, but absolutely hate it when it interferes with my routine and it becomes the master, not the servant.
Quite unabashed, I have been an Apple Mac user ever since my second year at ‘vicar factory’ back in the early 90s. Before then I kindly borrowed someone’s Toshiba Portable MS DOS computer, which in truth wasn’t that portable. Not only was it heavy and left dents in my knees, but the battery life was shorter than a queue to the Crazy Paving Appreciation Society’s Annual Lecture.
Nowadays, alongside my lighter laptop, I also have my mobile or should I say ‘smart phone’, but as I discovered recently this has not been without its problems.
I attempted to upgrade my phone software to the latest whizzy-whiz, faster, better-than-ever-before version. Also known as iOS 5. In truth, I was not unhappy with how things were before, but the thought of something better and free, well…it was simply an offer I couldn’t refuse.
So on a quiet weeknight I hit the download button to let technology do its best. Unfortunately it decided to do its worst. With a big gasp I watched my entire set of emails, calendars and contacts disappear before my eyes. (And, no, my emails weren’t backed up!) If ever there was a time to find a grown man crying in a corner it was then. The promise of a better-connected life had let me down.
It has made me think how we can often put a lot of blind faith in things that are not necessarily proven, but given enough hype can accept anything as truth. We want to believe that something will make our lives better.
It is natural to want to upgrade the standard of our lives. We can look at the current version and think, “This just sucks! Maybe something has to stopped functioning in our life or we see something in someone else’s and want what they have.
The late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple said famously in a university plenary speech:
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
The immensely successful and talented Steve Jobs recognised his products were not ultimately enough in them self. That is quite something, isn’t it?
Life has a spiritual profundity that modern science still struggles with any integrity to make redundant. There remains this longing in us all to be known, loved and accepted for who we are, not for what we have achieved. Many Christian commentators have called this a God-shaped hole wanting to be filled by himself through his Son Jesus Christ.
If the promises of God are true and Jesus is who he says he is, it requires a full upgrade to a new way of seeing and experiencing life. The old version will never do.
St Augustine, the early church father said rather wryly:
“I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: ‘Come to me all you that labour and are heavy burdened.’” [quoting Jesus]
Is God’s Life Version any better than the modern alternatives around?
I give the last word to Paul the low-tec Apostle who said this about the great iPriest, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"