Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dangers of Technology -- and Technique!

I may have mentioned a question I got a few years ago from one of the kids: Why don't people believe so much in God these days? Is it because we have so many televisions and stuff? This brings up the question: How is God with technology? Like, dislike, indifferent?

Today's reading includes this passage involving military technology. The Lord is speaking to the "Valley of Vision" about defenses:
you saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses;
you stored up water in the Lower Pool.
You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
and tore down houses to straighten the wall.
You built a reservoir between the two walls
for the water of the Old Pool,
but you did not look to the One who made it,
or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.
Isaiah 22.9-11
So what's the problem here? Storing up water? Calculating resources and adapting them for defense? Of course not! The issue here is ignoring and disregarding God.

As it is in our day. We enjoy our cell phones and iPods; we like having doors and windows that lock. But if we ignore God, if we think that technology ultimately saves us, that's where we get into trouble.

It occurs to me that this can also apply to "technique" besides "technology." If we think that a particular skill set
, a particular line of questioning when counseling someone, or even a particular way of presenting the gospel -- if we think any of those things will accomplish the objective and we forget about God, we are in trouble. Or, for that matter, a particular way to pray or a particular set of words to use when praying for something!

We can get into this sort of trouble really easily. How many times have you heard the advice to face someone squarely, lean forward, ask open-ended questions -- this sort of thing? As if technique can communicate love that's not there! This kind of "active listening" advice has been handed out for decades, yet the results fall short of the hype.

Why is that? Because the thing we need, whether in counseling, marital conflict resolution, prayer, or warfare, is for God to supply the needful. In relationships, "active listening" technique is not the savior! Beyond technique, I must be willing to humble myself, to set aside my agenda, my desire to appear right, etc. In prayer, we need to seek the Lord himself more than what we want him to do for us. And "the horse is made ready for battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.

May we remember to seek him first!

posted late Saturday night from Japan, 6:40am pacific

No comments: