Technology and the trivial

If our technology had existed in Jesus' day, our Bibles might read: "Jesus asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' but they were checking their e-mail and missed the question." Or "A third time He asked him, ‘Simon . . . do you love Me?' Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time, but then his cell phone rang and he replied, ‘I'm sorry, Lord, I've got to take this.' " Or on Pentecost, "Peter continued preaching for a long time, and a handful of people believed and were baptized while thousands more texted and sent out tweets on Twitter" (see Mark 8:27-28; John 21:15; Acts 2:40-41).

Technology can stifle our spiritual growth in subtle ways. The first Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).

None of these things come easily in our wired world. Who has the time or discipline to study the apostles' teaching and pray when cable television and the Internet jangle with unimportant yet interesting diversions? Let's face it, our lives would be little changed if we missed that latest score, review, or celebrity gossip.

Yet filling our minds with such minutiae comes at some cost, for we may unknowingly project our reading of the virtual world upon the eternal truths of God's Word. When everything is trivial, then anything is trivial. Fellowship and community are thought to be the strengths of our new media, but busy texters ignore us and intrusive phone calls interrupt us. We often sit in the presence of bodies whose minds are elsewhere.

Lest you think I'm simply a hater of today's technology, ask yourself this: When the Good Shepherd leads you beside "peaceful streams," do you "rest in green meadows" or reach for your iPhone? , Mike Wittmer

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