Seeing through the technology

Yesterday (Tuesday) the team website was down all day, including its management system, so the blog for 19th January, though written on that day, wasn’t actually up until first-thing on Wednesday.  It was a bit frustrating, but really in the whole scheme of things, it made little difference.  Someone trying to source information sent me an email instead - for example.

Our reliance upon technology is becoming greater by the day, and a computer or phone out of order stresses most of us to an extent far beyond what it should.  I dare say many of us have given a car a resounding kick for not starting, or a piece of electrical kitchen equipment or some power tool has been replaced before its time, because we have just got fed up with its unreliability.  Thank goodness we are not treated like an inanimate object or a piece of clever technology!

Several times, over the past week or two, I have heard of people trying to turn back from their absolute reliance on modern wizardry, and managing in what would be considered old-fashioned ways.  So, most obviously, where the choice between Zoom and the telephone is considered, some are now opting for the phone, whilst not long ago the novelty of the screen communication was exciting us all.  The longing for personal meeting is growing at the same time as the dangers of doing so are so high.  I think back to the view of the book disappearing and the kindle taking over of fifteen or so years ago.  Now there seem to be more books than ever.  I don’t think ultimately that human beings will allow themselves to be taken over by machines, much as we shall use them - the allotment, the book, the live sport, the coffee shop, the walk in the country, the homemade preserves, the knitting, the convivial dinner, the concert - actual services in Church - one could go on and on …..

As twenty-first century human beings in the affluent part of the world in which we live, we are wedded to technology, and grateful for it.  It has allowed many to be able to continue to work from home, though again, that is amongst those whose jobs do not require physical activity of any kind other than that that I am using at the moment - the ability to pick out letters and symbols on a key-pad.  So, whilst we deeply desire that which we cannot have at the moment, we are coming to value what we have lost all the more.

The statistics that maintain our sense of where we are in this pandemic have become a daily source of attention, but I am grateful beyond words for the life stories that speak of this one person, or that one family and the way in which the presence of the virus has affected them.  I think that our Lord did a similar thing to this by placing a child in the midst of the crowd, and drawing attention to what is simple and of the heart.  That is my thought to ponder today.

John Mann