Technology and the Space to Communicate Truth without Fighting

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Today’s post is like I’m speaking in the mirror to myself. Hopefully you can relate and be convicted as much as I am.

I am toying with the idea that we have lost the ability to love in a deep way as Christians. Specifically, we have lost the ability to speak the truth to those we love, and to do it without fighting. Some set up is needed. 

I assume part of what it means to be Christian is to be free enough by the Spirit to practice disciplines. In community this is in things like going out of the way to care for your spouse as she likes to be loved, or working with outreach ministries to give assistance to the poor. Individually, it’s your classic spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible study. The practice of disciplines requires learning, forming, and doing things that keep us on task to never stop learning to be like Jesus. 

Now fast forward to today. In a world saturated by technology we are connected to each other with a series of things in between us. And when I mean technology I mean anything that is dependent on us controlling things and those things are packed with values. So for example, a condom or a birth control pill are both a form of technology. No, technology is not just computers. Technology is the dominate mode of modern life for better or worse. When I talk about technology I like to give the analogy of a fish and water. The fish doesn’t know it’s in water but it does know when it’s outside of it. Our social world is much like that fish, just our water is technology. 

The reason I bring up technology is because I’m convinced that it’s created a barrier for us to speak truth to those we love without fighting. It’s not the only problem in modern life, there are other powers in the way, but it’s such an obvious one that it needs to be pointed out. It manifests its obstruction in so many ways. I bet we express our views on social media but when in the same room as a family member with opposing views, my guess is those subjects don’t even come up. How about the most obvious truth, does it ever come up?: Without Christ people are out of step with reality; God has made Christ known so we can know and be in harmony. But this harmony requires a different space than the technological world, because it requires us being oriented with the world directly and nothing in between us and our values we use to manage and harmonize with reality. 

Here’s another very simple example, keeping our children clean is not about using diapers but about getting dirty, using our hands, and sometimes even washing our kid’s little butts directly so they can be clean because we love them. To do this right means using our hands and our words and repeating that discipline so many times it is part of their basic understanding about us and them and themselves and ourselves. Did I mention true Christian disciplines are acts of love done in the space of Christ (traditionally in his name)? 

Technology can be a helpful tool to accomplish these types of goals but in a world saturated by it, and becoming more saturated daily, it gets in the way. How many of you show disgust when you have to use your hands and clean your children’s butts? You’ve probably become accustomed to a level of controllable separation from things you dislike and the withdrawal affect of not having a technological level of separation to mediate your dislike manifests itself in disgust. 

The Lord loves a cheerful giver!

To learn to love in today’s world means learning to build connections where a space of freedom can be reconciled. Technology doesn’t, in general, provide that space because the world needs words, it needs hands, values, it needs us directly involved. Once again there is a new condition of the common human experience that needs to be redeemed for Christ. 

We Christians need to get to a place in our relationships where we can directly speak the truth to each other without fighting. This is a spiritual discipline and an act of true love. Sanctify your love, fight for it, redeem it. Get technology out of the way if that will help, but do it. 

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