When was the last time you saw some kids playing Hide and Go Seek in your neighborhood at night? Can your teenager really talk without having to do so into a phone or I-Pad? When did they replace “Spin the Bottle” with “Text me?”
I grew up in the Fifties- it was an age of innocence, the government didn’t lie to us and we were all worried about the Red Scare (Communism) taking over our country. And let’s not forget “The Bomb” destroying us all in a flash. When you see the old movies with the little children at school duck and cover under their desks or along the walls under a window, and you laugh at how silly that is, I was doing that. I remember it.
The really sad and ironic thing is that while we were all certain that Communism would destroy our American way of life, it was TV that silently and slowly infiltrated the nuclear family. In the long run, it wasn’t “the bomb” or Communism that destroyed our family, it was technology. It was TV. The TV we watched during dinner, so no one talked about their day during the meal. We even kept quiet to hear the commercials. Now it is I-Pads, Tablets and Smartphones that cause our kids to stay in their little cocoons and think they are communicating.
To be fair, communication is a dynamic environment, changing constantly in the way we use words, gestures and even the means of communication. We have gone from yelling, to smoke signals, to sending letters, to calling, to emailing, to texting, twitter, facebook and snapchat. Just to mention a few. And as we find newer and faster ways to communicate, the words we use change. OMG, I wonder if this is TMI for you, my BFF? HUH?
God communicated very simply- He spoke to us through the prophets and on occasion, directly through visions and dreams and, at least once, as a voracious fire on a mountaintop. The words are fairly simple to understand and the commandments straight forward. There are some of the ordinances and regulations that many call “Ceremonial Laws”; in Hebrew they are called “Hukkim”, and these are regulations that are not so clear as to why God gave them to us. But, He did give them to us to obey, and we should. The whole idea of ceremonial verse moral is just a form of compartmentalizing God’s commands in order to justify disobeying them. And when you watch TV to learn about who Jesus was, what the Bible “really” is about, you will find that the word of God is treated (usually) as something to debunk. And you know that they would never lie on TV, right?
What am I leading up to here? I am concerned for our children and our future because the way we deal with each other is one of the two greatest commandments, isn’t it? To love God and love each other? Leviticus 19:18? How can we truly show compassion towards and care for each other if we aren’t even face-to-face? Our children don’t know how to talk to each other, or anyone else, for that matter. Some research indicates (I just read this in the paper this morning) that youth are spending nearly 16 hours a week just on their computers or phones. When you figure that’s probably between 1500 and 2100 (that’s 3:00PM and 9:00PM to you civilian types), add to that all the TV they watch, there is almost no time for interactions like play, catch, tag, whatever. When I was a kid I would be playing outside with my friends until I got called in to the house, way after dark. Summertime was playtime when I could stay out late. Now the only thing that prevents kids from playing is when their battery runs low.
The family that is centered on God should be more centered on each other- the parents should make sure they talk with their kids (even though kids don’t feel that way) and they should watch out for too much technology. I am a systems engineer; as such, my career is dependant upon computers and networks. But I am afraid that technology is how the Enemy’s will enter into our lives and how he will infiltrate our family and take over those who are innocent and unaware.
The way we communicate today is almost exclusively through the airwaves, is it not? And what is the term that Shaul (Paul) gave to the enemy? In Ephesians he calls Satan the “Prince of the power of the air.” Think about that for a moment: we communicate through the air and the Enemy controls the air.
We who are Believers should do whatever we can to make sure that we do not let technology become a snare for ourselves and our children. I am not saying to go live in the wilderness, or throw the computers and cell phones into the garbage- the unfortunate truth is that we cannot do without them because they are a global phenomenon and, as such, we have to deal with it. But that doesn’t mean we have to let it run our lives, or (more correctly) ruin our lives.
Technology can do wonderful things: it can perform life-saving surgery, it can help us see our loved ones across the country or across the world, and when used correctly it can help bring us together. But, on the other hand, it can (and already has) separated and cocooned us; it is cold and unfeeling and it may be controlled by the Enemy in a way that will divide us as a family, a people, and (ultimately) place a wedge between us and God. Technology is like fire- it can warm and protect us or it can turn on us and destroy us with an unquenchable hunger.
It’s up to us to maintain face-to-face, “real” relationships. Get off Facebook or Twitter now and then, and call someone. Talk to them using your voice instead of your fingers, and meet with people, get your kids out onto the lawn and play with them. Have a catch, roll around in the grass, or just walk around the neighborhood. Go to the country for an outing, invite the neighbor’s kids to go along, encourage meeting with each other at your place of worship.
We need to be with each other, physically; we need to see each other’s faces, touch, interact closely; we need to get back to being sociable instead of just socializing.
And we need to be alert for “the sign” being pushed on us: I believe it will have something to do with technology. There has already been, for a long time, talk about a computer chip in the hand or forehead that will replace the debit and credit cards. It will seem correct, it will be the “latest thing” and when we fall for the hype we will find ourselves with the mark of the Enemy before we even realize it. That’s what I am afraid of: technology is a tool which can be used for good or for evil- it is up to us to use the tool correctly and be aware of it’s inherent dangers.
When I was in the Marine Corps I was a Combat Engineer, which means I dealt with demolitions. Things that go BOOM, in a big way. We used to say you only get one mistake with a land mine.
The same holds true with technology- one mistake, one moment that we let our guard down, and BOOM!