Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
I have said it before, but it bears repeating: I am technologically challenged. I confess that I have resisted technology for the last two decades with all of the remarkable advancements that have been made to enhance communication and life in general for everyone. I am also an avowed minimalist in that if I don't need it, then why bother having it. My most significant accommodation to technology was learning how to use a cellphone and email until several years ago. The email was a forced necessity because working for a government entity required it. I also admit that learning to use email was much quicker and more productive than making phone calls. Information could be simultaneously shared with an infinite number of people. However, even email presented a lost art – actual human interaction, even if only by a phone conversation.
Now that I use email, I was introduced to another technological phenomenon – Facebook. No, this is not a commercial endorsement by any means. However, now I can connect with people I never have and probably will never meet in real life. And for some unknown reason, dozens of people each day are asking to be my "friend." Why? If you really got to know me, you might have second thoughts based on my beliefs, experiences, and faith-based outlook on life. Whoops, a half dozen of those interested in becoming friends just declined to pursue the matter. It is incredible to see how technology affects human interaction in social settings. Cathy and I are people watchers from a long time past. I am pretty sure it has to do with
us both having been law enforcement officers. What is fascinating to see is in a restaurant, two people at a table together will both have cell phones out and are either texting or viewing something interesting. And
this goes on until the meal is served. It is almost Pavlovian the effect our phones can have on us. Don’t believe me? Try going 24 hours with your phone off.
Now, don't get me wrong – I am actually grateful for the advances in technology and their benefit. Growing up, I remember taking vacations where one of the most critical items was the paper map. We relied on the information it provided. As a flight student in the Air Force, we relied on various scale aerial maps to direct us. This was before the advent of the Global Positioning System, GPS. Today, GPS is on our phones. While taking a trip to the east coast last year, the phone GPS guided us. The system told us where traffic delays were, the quickest route, the nearest gas station, and information on lodging. It was all done on the phone. Incredible when you consider where we were just 40 years ago.
This past weekend we had family visiting from the twin cities. You remember how the traffic was, with everyone traveling up to the North Shore to marvel at the beautiful panorama of colors that proclaimed another Fall season. When our company was ready to depart, we checked the traffic app on the phone. It showed traffic backed up southbound almost four miles from Two Harbors. It took them one-hour to travel ten miles through town. We have heard of how technology saved lives by helping to locate the lost
or stranded. Technology enables emergency responders to arrive sooner and provide life-saving services. I could go on about the virtues of sound technology. My point is that technology has been, is, and will continue to be evolutionary. Perhaps in my lifetime, I may be able to say, “Scotty, beam me up.” And then again, maybe not.
Another benefit of technology is in the ministry of the church. Bibles, in all translations and many languages, are now electronically available. During the pandemic, we can attend church through different media platforms. The study tools available online stagger the imagination as to how much information is available. I firmly believe that not only has God provided the technology, but it also gives clear direction that it should be used to benefit us and the world He has created for us. God offers the opportunity to live smarter, safer, and healthier lives in a world that we can now also make cleaner, healthier, and safer for generations to come.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
May you be blessed by God’s word. Chris