More Thoughts on Technology
What you can't see in this picture is my phone because at this instant I am using it to take the picture, but after I do that I will return to the website with the great psanky egg design pictures while playing music while we make the eggs. The phone is an amazing piece of technology that really serves so many purposes, if I stop and think it's like I've stepped into a Star Trek episode. But there are days that I hate the phone and surveys of teenagers about the impact of social media reveal that for many this technological marvel is a curse. So what to do?
Before you have the chance to say, "Go Amish!" let me bring you up to speed on the Amish and technology in a few brief sentences. The Amish are not opposed to technology-period. They are opposed to anything that brings about separation of the community and family or that binds them to the world. I have many friends that are Amish or belong to a plain sect and I can tell you they are a very ingenious community that sees technology as the servant never the master. They also believe the individual submits to the whole, so if the community decides that phones will be a distraction and unnecessary, then even if one disagrees, they are bound to reject phones. Interestingly, my neighbors are new Amish and their community permits, electricity, phones, and even fax machines but they also have limitations on those technologies to help the community stay connected and prioritize serving God.
I wonder if we have missed the boat on evaluating technology not as individuals but as communities. As an individual even if I know kicking back and watching three movies in an afternoon makes me feel like crap I may still do it because I lack the self-discipline to make a different choice, but if I have committed to my community to limit my time on the couch and watching media perhaps I will make a different choice. If I discuss and pray about the role that my phone plays in my life maybe I will be less inclined to hand it to my kid to keep them quiet ,or even more questionable, swipe it open myself every spare moment I can to entertain myself with some game or app.
I am not saying phones are bad or microwaves or cars or movies or the internet (obviously) but I do feel the need to ask the question, "How much? When? What role?" about the tools that should be my servants but never my masters. Jesus was pretty clear, no one can serve two masters, you either hate the one or love the other but never both. So when I consider technology I am challenged to ask myself some tough questions but I am even more challenged to put that discussion out there in the community and together discern what, when and how technology is going to serve our lives.