Friday, January 27, 2012

Pillar 2: Redeeming Technology

While Pillar 1 is all about Christian living at its simplest. Sex, money, relationships, power and technology are all the same in many ways in the sight of God. Live with love and simplicity. 

But, we implement this way of living in different ways in different areas of our lives.

My interest in technology and faith is motivated in part by the 3 big tectonic plates of global economic, social and environmental changes that are colliding at present. Technology is the fault lines between these plates - more on this in a later blog.

But because of the nature of technology and what is happening at present we can focus on technology in the different dimensions of:

A- Harmony with the Creator: .... spiritual transformation
B- Harmony with our Being:    ... psycho-social transformation
C- Harmony with Others:         ... socio-political transformation
D- Harmony with the Creation:... economic-ecological transformation

Harmony with the creator - as the new book From the Garden to the City makes clear that creating things is part of who we are as creating beings. Expressing creativeness in line with a Christian worldview an appropriate calling.

 Harmony with our Being - the use of technology can be valuable to how we live and it can also be damaging. We need to become more aware of how the use of technology changes us for good and bad.

Harmony with Others - Again we can use technology in a way that abuses power or gets in the way of relationships. Rosie's blog - often deals with issues of living well with technology both with ourselves and others.

Harmony with the Creation:... economic-ecological transformation

This is probably the aspect that where I can make the most insightful comments. Technology has both improved the quality of life for millions over the last 50 years and more progress is possible. However, as lifestyle improve so does resources use. We desparately need technologies that enable us to reduce consumption. Additive manufacturing for example will greatly reduce waste but on the other hand it will have literally unimaginable effects on the global economy.

This four way structure is great way of focusing and thinking more clearly about our relationship with technology and particularly directions for creating postive aspects of technology.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pillar 1: The Christian tradition of a critical position

Before Christmas that I was trying to encapsulate the multiple dimensions of the relationship between Christians and technology in 4 pillars.

Here I want to expand on the first pillar.

What I have in mind is actually nothing terribly sophisticated. It is the most basic level reading of the Bible story and particularly Paul's emphasis on living in tune with God. There are a number of passages I could have chosen but this one from Colossians is great. Lets read it again.


Colossians 3

 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

NIV from 

So then if our use of technology leads us in the wrong direction then we must change.

If we spend too much times on it, if we spend too much money on it, if technology use leads us in the wrong ways to live then we must change.

That is not to say technology will be always negative, it can help us do good. Clothe yourselves with:

. compassion, 
. kindness, 
. humility, 
. gentleness and
. patience. 

Technology, as a human tool will I think tend because of our nature to feed our negative character - our desire for more control and belief in that control leading to less compassion and kindness, our desire for more power can lead to less humility and technology can certainly feed less patience. On this last one take a look at Philed Higher and Deeper here

That may sound like I am being down on technology but actually it is true of whatever technological level we are at - Israel relied on Egypt rather than God and we use organisations and institutions the same way. As a population we gravitate away from God. Technology helps us in that but it isn't the cause, the root cause is our own will and the fight within. 

To redeem technology we ourselves must first be redeemed, we must make Jesus Lord. Then we can cultivate the fruits of the spirit and in doing so redeem what we touch.

So as I indicated at the beginning there is nothing profound in this post, but I want to emphasise the importance of this pillar. If we are going to engage our fellow Christians in conversations about technology then I think starting here has importance. It is too easy o race over this to the  more difficult and problematic topics but it starts here. Love God, Love people.