Monday, March 1, 2021

The promise of technology. . .

I remember thinking to myself while typing a stencil and readying the mighty Gestetner mimeograph, "i f only St. Paul had a set up like this we might have had a dozen letters from St. Paul to the folks at Corinth."  Looking back, the technology was old, difficult, and messy.  But it did work -- most of the time.  Yet these were the days before technology meant cell phones, email, social media, copiers, and the like.  When I began as a pastor, we were using improved forms of ancient technology -- like the IBM Selectric we purchased (to my delight and at my urging!).  The revolution in technology could surely have meant even more to blessed St. Paul and his cohort of New Testament authors.  But for all its promise, it has not come without problems.

Perhaps none of the cost has been as high as censorship.  The pipeline of information and communication may be wonderful until it is shut down to those who vary from the party line.  And that is the point.  Once we might have thought that media and technology were rather neutral vehicles that might allow ideas to be debated, philosophies discussed, politics argued, and faith witnessed.  But I am not so sure that this will happen.  We have witnessed a thought police arise to review what is posted, to oversee what is discussed, and to decide what is tolerated and what is not.  

The day will come at some point when orthodox Christianity will find itself a silenced minority.  It is already surveyed with a stricter eye than is applied to others and the tolerance for diversity apparently no longer applies to a faith that contradicts the ideas of the day.  Even more, we will have to decide whether we are content to be one of the cacophony of voices arguing and shouting or if it may be better of us to leave some of those convenient social media platforms and their supervision.  I do not know if that day will come sooner or later but I suspect many of us in the Church already see the handwriting on the wall.  When that day comes, I hope we have the courage of our convictions and actually follow through with our resolve.

For now I have a fairly free hand at blogging.  Yes, there are folks who threaten me and report me to the thought police (especially for comments made on this blog).  I would be more than happy to give up moderating comments if a few folks would try advocating their ideas rather than smearing someone with a label.  But the hand that gives can take away -- as we have we have all seen on Facebook and Twitter.  I still think that St. Paul and the Biblical authors might have well used the opportunities our everyday technology affords us but I am confident they would not have compromised or surrendered the faith in order to have access.  In this we should all follow the lead of integrity and faithfulness over cooperation and acceptance. 

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