Thursday, 29 September 2016

Helping hands, or slave drivers?

For years it's been argued that books will disappear, and we'll all be watching screens. Recent decades have shown the reverse as printers, and photocopiers have become faster producers of paper. Book sales are up too.

However there's a marked change: online newspapers are replacing printed copy; many no longer have paper bills or statements; and increasingly people turn up to meetings with just a laptop or smartphone. I expect the last example is because they want to catch up with the latest cricket score or fashion during boring parts.

I encourage the use of smartphones during Café Church, so Biblical references can be checked [or the cricket etc.]! The risk is that the odd work email will catch attention, and before we know it our sabbath rest has disappeared.

Help or hindrance?
Most inventions or discoveries present us with choice: we can use explosives to fracture enormous lumps of stone to be carved into amazing architectural designs, or we can propel lumps of metal into each other; through nuclear scans we can understand inner workings of the body, or destroy cities in seconds; and silicon chips can offer us endless depths of information and social contact, or invade our privacy and pollute our minds.

It's always our choice. Who put that smartphone in your pocket so it can get your attention at any time: a permanent last in, first served recipe for chaos? Who let boundaries between work and rest be opened up? Who allowed a help to become a hindrance? It's a choice.

The band has produced some great music, particularly when Phil Collins was a member, but I have to be in the right mood to listen loud. The book opens up the Old Testament, and always has wisdom to impart. When God creates the world, and moves from the basics of light, water, and soil to the peak of creation in mankind, he blesses them, and says, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth [Genesis chapter 1, verse 28 or].

It's a gift of responsibility for our own species, and for the living world. We are custodians of creation, and that presents us with countless choices. Here's one; is it better to milk cows three times a day, rather than twice? When I've had conversations with the dairy community, whom I respect greatly [and for whom life is pretty tough at the moment with ridiculously low milk prices] I listen to the way they answer. If cows are seen merely as a resource to be exploited, a product, then I think x3 is merely for profit. If on the other hand the welfare of the herd is mentioned, then I see a true husbandman privileged to be working in God's beautiful world.

Let's enjoy the choices we have, and choose wisely.  

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