I wonder how you interact with technology? I find myself wrestling with anything new but then bemused that someone else can’t work out something I have mastered. Internet bank-ing is often a mystery, whereas email is just the way things are and is clearly a natural way of doing things. I was once referred to by a friend as a “neo-luddite,” meaning I was unwill-ing to adopt new technology after the year 2000 and referencing the 19th Century faction that smashed up new textile machinery – although I draw the line at destroying new tech-nology… mostly!
In the light of this, I recently came across the following quote from Douglas Adams,
“I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
Over the period of the pandemic, I wonder what your relationship with technology has been like? Were you al-ready at home in the online world and were confident with the virtual shopping universe – was Amazon a book-mark on your home page or that long river in South America? Was google your search engine of choice or a mis-spelling of the difficult spin delivery in cricket? Were you one of the early adopters of Zoom or like me did you think back to the song by Fat Larry’s band - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMo6Ju8SJ8o
The last year has, for many of us, been a steep learning curve as we have wrestled with the new technology – many of us have enjoyed the opportunity to meet with friends and I know many folk have made strong connections with people from further afield. In church we have been able to invite people to speak and contribute to our worship from near and far in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Perhaps this new technology isn’t so bad after all.
As we move forwards, I wonder how new and not so new technology will continue to impact our lives? In church we are continuing to explore how we can harness these new approaches to help us live, show and tell His love to our community. We have realised that the online world is a way for us to connect with people we may otherwise never meet. Streaming services has meant that if people were unable to be at ‘live church’ they have always had the opportunity to ‘catch up; at a later point.
Some people have spoken to me and said that joining a group for the first time on zoom was easier than entering a room full of strangers in person. It meant those new to the group could control how much they got involved – did they simply want to watch for a while and gain some confidence? Others have spoken about how joining a zoom meeting in the evening means not having to leave the house on a cold evening and not having to find someone to sit with the children. Joining services online allows people a chance to participate at their own pace and not be po-tentially put off by a large building with strangers keen to greet them.
I know there are many of you who have found the whole technology thing frustrating and a large number of people have told me the joy they have found in physically meeting with people once lockdown measures were eased, and I would whole heartedly agree. But what can we learn I wonder?
In Old Felixstowe Parish we are seeking to utilise this new technology for the purpose of sharing God’s love. We are hoping to combine in person and online ways of getting together to worship and share with each other.
I wonder what that may look like – what are we going to take with us that may become a new way of doing things? What new things are there for us to discover?