Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Non-Techie’s Praises of Technology

Can you believe where technology has taken us in just the past few decades?

When our family arrived in Chattanooga, Tenn. in 1981, USA Today was still a figment of the Gannett Corporation’s imagination. A computer might fit on your lap – if you were a blue whale. E-mail was a letter sent to racecar driver Dale Earnhardt. Being an editor for magazines and newsletters, when I took photographs people would ask, “Did you get any good pictures?” I’d reply that I’d know when the film was developed.

Virtually no one had yet heard of the Internet. GPS comprised the initials of Chattanooga’s private girls’ school. Some people speculated phones would one day become standard equipment in cars, like air conditioning and radios.

Today, online media are making traditional newspapers obsolete. My iPad, smaller than a legal pad, is more powerful than room-sized computers of years past. I regularly communicate with friends in other countries via email, and my digital camera not only immediately displays images I’ve just captured, but also moves seamlessly from still photos to video.

On a recent trip to Charlotte, N.C., we used my daughter’s SUV (back in 1981, minivans were “in”) to take our grandson back to the motel for naptime, and the GPS (I called it “Gertrude the Personal Spotter”) provided directions. When I misunderstood an instruction and missed a turn, “Gertie” immediately redirected us without so much as a frustrated sigh or angry tone. I’m writing this blog and posting it with little more than the blink of an eye.

Who knows what technology will bring us in the future? Just this week USA Today ran an article stating it might not be long before we’re regularly using smartphones at checkout lines instead of wallets. Travel, communications, commerce and every other aspect of life will continue to revel in the relentless advance of technology.

Certainly there’s been a downside to technology as well, but that’s the way we humans are. Given something good, or even neutral, we’ll try to expose its negative side. But my greatest concern is embracing technology too ardently.

Years ago I attended a liturgical church where we sang the “Doxology”: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow….” I think we should have hearty appreciation for technology, but praise should go to God alone.
After all, He’s given us the creative spark to discover and implement new things. He’s granted us the reasoning capacity to think problems through to their solution. He’s provided the raw material for manufacturing the wonderful tools we use today.

In 2 Peter 1:3 we’re told, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” As we benefit from countless technological advancements, it might be wise never to forget the ultimate Source of those discoveries.

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