|Alright, who put this metric stick in|
my American Standard toolbox?
So there's a real "macrosense" (call Webster) in which the development of tools has guided the development of the human race. But there's also a "microsense." By that I mean that in addition to shaping the long arcs of history, tools have profound impact on the day-to-day existence of each person who comes into contact with them.
That seems painfully obvious, and I'm sorry. But bear with me for a moment. Tools are tools because they enable us to do something we couldn't otherwise do (or enable us to do something at a scale or pace we couldn't otherwise). Sure, I could eventually scrape all the meat off a bear-hide with my fingernails...eventually. But how much more quickly, efficiently, and completely can I do that given the proper tool (and the knowledge of how to use it, of course)?
|When I was a boy, we scraped|
hides with our fingernails, and we liked it,
and we walked to school up hill in the snow.
|An *old* washing machine.|
This is part of the problem with returning to the "good old days." People think about the ways in which things were simpler, and they were. But they forget all about the ways in which things were harder. When I moved to Atlanta, I had no GPS. I carried a book in my truck that contained detailed maps of the entire city so I could get around! It was a simpler time...I had no children and no full-time job. It was Lisa and me and the world was our oyster. Would I enjoy some of that freedom? Sure. But if you tell me I have to check my smartphone at the door...wait a second. Well, at least we'd still have our washer and dryer...
The development of the tools that are appliances played a big part in making it possible for women to work outside the home because of how much more quickly things could get done. Things you used to have to pay to have someone do for you if you didn't do it yourself, now you can buy a machine that does it for you. Lately, with automation, you don't even have to do anything. You plug in a charger and punch a button. Voila! Your floor is automatically swept while you sleep or go to work.
|And it will even play with your pets for you!|
The washer...has changed our behavior. It's basically driving us around like a cat on a Roomba.
Don't even get me started on smartphones. We have more computing power in our hands than they did when they landed guys on the moon. WAY more. You want to know when the Razorbacks are going to lose their next football game? I can tell you in about 15 seconds. You want to know how to get from here to Saskatoon? I gotcha, and I can also help you apply for your passport while we're at it. The smartphone is one of the most powerful tools...ever...because it allows us to do so much with so little effort.
There is, of course, a dark side when the phones begin to control us. Because that's the thing about power tools. They are dangerous when they are not handled carefully. Get your fingers too close to the blade and you can ruin your entire life. Because you cut off a few fingers, or you post an inappropriate picture that you can never, ever take back down or you send a reflexive text to a friend...or someone who was your friend until they read that text. All of a sudden this thing that is supposed to help us has the exact opposite effect.
It's not that technology is bad. Technology is GOOD. But we have to use it carefully because the more powerful the tool, the more damage it can cause.
|What could possibly go wrong?|
This has already happened, of course.
And it's not just the building. It's the institution itself. There has been a huge upheaval in the United Methodist Church as they struggle with words and paragraphs and policies and procedures. Plans and exits. And it has caused so much pain for so many. And so much anger. Honestly I'm not sure if anything has ever done so much to separate us from our call as Christians, which Jesus Himself summed up this way: Love God and love neighbor. The vast amounts of money and property wrapped up in the decisions that need to be made have deafened the CHURCH to the call of Christ, and it's sad to watch that unfold. It seems like it's all about the stuff now.
But...good news. Christ was outright killed 2000 years ago, and yet He lives on, along with His church. Since the very beginning, people tried to extinguish the message of love, and each time they thought they had succeeded, they found out they were profoundly wrong and weak in the face of that which is God in our world: the love of God and neighbor.
As I type, votes are being taken. I don't know what will happen. But I know this. You can take this building and everything in it. You can kick me out and hang up no trespassing signs. But you cannot make me stop answering Christ's call to love people. One way or another, I will make music with the body of Christ as we worship together a God of unbounded love. After all, my commitment is to God and to sharing God's love. The church is a tool.