Thursday, January 28, 2010
Every Gift Is From Above... Except The iPad Of Course
As soon as Steve Jobs came on stage and the iPad was announced, the criticism came. I'm not talking about those who wanted more features on Apple's newest innovation (multitasking, flash-support, etc.). I will get to these folks later.
No, I am talking about those whose first public reaction was to slam those who were excited or even interested in the announcement. Now I am sure there was some serious coveting going on and certainly some idolatry but is that all? Is there any good going on at all? Must we be indifferent and point out the dangers to these kinds of cultural happenings to be righteous? Of course, we all know how much easier it is to see things wrongly. But if the Spirit is at work in the people of God - the Church - must we only assume the worst and then blog and tweet our judgement? Should we not assume that there are things worth celebrating that are not done by the Church? Can we not be very interested in technology and also be wary about how it will affect us? Must we only assume evil hearts that have not been changed so things are seen rightly?
I tend to think all the initial criticism should fall on those who are already mad about a product yet to be sold. Not one unit has sold and already there are people tweeting and blogging their frustrations about the iPad's limitations. Really, you're mad? These are the people who are seriously having idolatry issues. Being mad about the limitations of something you do not need is the height of arrogance. We should be much less apt to criticize those who stand in wonder at the beauty of a technological advance. There is a childlikeness in the excitement I enjoy seeing. And there is an adult pseudo-maturity that stands aloof and frowns upon those who are enjoying the moment. Or rolls its eyes in contempt. Give me the idolater any and every day.
Children? My son, Knox turned 4 a couple of days ago. His heart is an idol factory, as John Calvin said. These objects of worship manifest themselves in the form of helicopters, planes and rockets. Take one away? Crushed! But what kind of a Father would I be if I did not rejoice in his enjoyment of the gifts, made by unbelievers (in other countries) and get excited with him...knowing I will have to have some serious discussions with him about how he feels about his new toys? I don't want to be aloof and above his excitement. I want to play with him, with his toys.
When the Gutenberg Printing Press came on the scene in the middle of the 15th century I am sure there were detractors. But let's face it. Movable type?! Books will no longer be handwritten? Certainly this was a reason to get wildly excited and interested. Right?
The men I spend my time with love books. We are pastors ergo we love books. Of course no one is challenging my love of books and the idolatry that lies nasecent in my heart over a new book or set thereof. Why? We romanticize that which was once not so common. Books were once less common household items than iPhones. And the Gutenberg Printing Press is credited with changing the western world with its innovative technology. Reformed theologians get excited about this (and rightly so) because it meant the gospel spread quickly through the printing of Bibles and Christian literature that were then distributed everywhere. But it also ushered in the printing of books that were not always beneficial. And this continues today. The difference? No one is upset about what Gutenberg did, we are still glad he did it.
So can we not just relax a little. Actually no, don't relax...we should be very uncomfortable with our knee-jerk judgmentalism so devastating to the church and the cultures/communities we find ourselves in. The gospel will not be served by our cultural naval gazing. It will serve to confirm the suspicions of a post-christian populace that we really have no interest in grace, we really are moralists to the core, sniffing out the filth in everyone's lives.
Besides, if an iPad showed up on your door...would you be glad or would you roll your eyes?