Posted on November 6, 2018
Posted on November 6, 2018
Often I’ll have a short thought, more half of a thought really. I will begin to write it down and then the thought will wander off into the long grass and I’ll decide to finish working it out later. Now I have a few dozen half-finished blog posts in my folder and this site sits dormant.
So, I’ve decided to exchange fantastic for frequent and to hit publish on shorter thoughts that are not polished or even properly thought through. Enjoy!, but don’t hold me to it, I’m just thinking out loud.
Part of what it means to be distinctly Christian in the 21st-century is to find ways to order our relationships to the many forms of technology that surround us. Christianity is at its core about a body. The Son, who becomes a body in Jesus Christ for our sake. Our task as Christians is to live faithfully in our bodies, relationships and creation-context in ways that witness to the days when we will have bodies everlasting, as CS Lewis says, “till we have faces.”
In our view of history (that can often have an air of superiority), we can become trapped in the idea that our temptations, our challenges and the habitual addictions that we face in the 21st Century are the worst history has ever seen. Of course, our technology might be new, but we are far from the first age that has ever experienced a technological revolution. As Andy Crouch has perceptibly named, often our use of technology is the exchange of personhood for power. What we could do slower with people, gets set aside for what we can do speedily without requiring the intervention, permission or participation of other people.
Similarly, we could say that it is the exchange for in-bodied relationships for an excarnated un-relational voyeurism. Bluntly speaking, it is the difference between observing someone’s life through Instagram instead of inviting them over for coffee to ask them about things…
What we need1, are interruptions in the way technology recruits our habits in ways that simultaneously connect us and leaving us at a deeper level more disconnected than ever.
One practise that could concretely interrupt these habits would be exchanging the money we spend on data or Internet for our phones and instead buy call minutes, credit or airtime.
Often messaging, even with all the wonderful emojis at our disposal, is a disembodied form of receiving information rather than engaging in a truly person-to-person interaction. In-person conversations may not always be realistic when you live far from those you are hoping to connect with but, Remember the good old fashion phone call? Voices, real-time, emotional intelligence that does not require an emoji yellow face to communicate.
What would it do to our relationships if we picked up the phone rather than scrolled through Facebook or instagram2 to observe someone’s life as a distant facade instead of the true conversational connection that could come from a phone call or Skype?
Buy minutes not data, it just might be more Christian.