“I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices…” – Isaiah 65:2
Seems like there’s an app for everything.
Do you want to know something, anything? There’s an app for that. In our pocket is Wikipedia – the collected knowledge of the whole of civilization. So if we find ourselves stymied in a philosophic discussion, we can, on the spot, find the answer; “Siri – who played Marcia on The Brady Bunch?” We can know everything. We are not limited.
Do you want to be somewhere? Anywhere? There’s an app for that. In our pocket are turn-by-turn directions (driving or walking) to any point in the world. From here, we can get anywhere. We are not lost.
Do you wish to be heard? There’s an app for that, multiple apps, actually. In our pocket is the capability to project our voice into the four corners of the earth. We can send a document to Europe, a letter to Asia, or a text to our spouse who is taking too long in the bathroom. We can instantaneously broadcast our Twitter opinion, on say, Miley Cyrus’ dress. We can be heard. We can reach anyone. We are not disconnected.
Do you want something? There’s an App for that. In our pocket, we have the power to bend the mighty Amazon to bear the item of our choice right up to our doorstep. We can demand anything, anytime. We are not weak.
Yes – anything, anytime, anyone, everywhere, everything. If you want to feel like the master of your universe – there’s an app for that. With our omni-device in our pockets – we are in control.
No wonder we feel insecure when we misplace our Omni-device. We feel diminished, lost, even naked. We panic, how to find it? Hey, there’s an app for that, aptly named: ‘Find My Smartphone’. Our omni-device is recovered. We cradle it and stroke it – placing it safely back in our pocket. And we face the world once again.
Yes, we are very attached to our smartphones. Being all-powerful is highly addictive. Perhaps it is the addiction behind all addictions, the lure of all idolatry, the forbidden fruit (ironic – the Apple logo). In our natural state we feel so small, so needy. I want connection and security and meaning. And voila! There it is – in sleek gleaming form – pleasing to the eye. Small enough to fit in your pocket; large enough to encompass the whole world. So we reach out our hand and take it.
This is the danger in all technology (and all technique). We reasonably want to use our minds and hands to enhance our situation. So far, so good. God gave us the ability to manage the raw material he provided. Said another way, God granted us power to manage and focus grace. This is where we get the name ‘App’. It is an application of the gifts already given. But notice – it is an ‘application’ of something, not the ‘creation’ of something. Application is the privileged role of human beings; creation is the role of the Creator. The danger of technology is that we start believing we can blur that boundary.
It’s like we have an insatiable ‘app-etite’. We want to be able to manufacture grace. Again, we can manage grace, but we cannot make grace out of nothing. There’s no app for that.
Only God is for that.
A good article about the use (and overuse of Smartphones) http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/09/andrew-sullivan-technology-almost-killed-me.html
Roger Edwards joined The Barnabas Center in 1991. He works with both with individuals and couples, helping people confess their need and embrace their available choices to lead healthier lives. Roger also teaches and leads discussion groups and retreats applying the Gospel to everyday life. He is a licensed professional counselor (LPC), holds a master’s degree in biblical counseling from Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is married to Jean and they have seven children and nine grandchildren.
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