Prayer, Plain and Simple

I’d love to be in Las Vegas today, both to escape the bitter cold gripping Minnesota and to attend the Consumer Electronic Show and check out the new whiz bang gadgets soon to be available to all us gullible customers of novelty.  I admit it would be fun to see the outer limits of our technological imagination. I’m not that much of a “geek” about this stuff, but I am curious. It’s amazing what humans can build when we put our minds and monies to work. Just as we love to build towers to the sky, such as the new skyscraper in Dubai, we also continue to push new boundaries of technology, always with the promise that we can make our lives simpler, quicker, and more entertaining. Does it ever work? Why do we imagine it will, this time?

We all know the answer. Higher buildings and niftier cell phones don’t really deliver what their marketing promises. They don’t fix our marriages, cure our loneliness, raise our children, or give purpose to life. Novel achievements are really just clever distractions from an ever present and tenacious angst.   

In the Bible there’s a story about the failure of human effort to build a better life: to tale of the Tower of Babel, where humans tried to build a tower that would reach the sky. This quest represented a drive for human perfection independent from God. It was mercifully foiled by god himself, not because he wanted to stop human betterment, but because he knew and still knows we can never make our lives life when we are separated from him.  Big buildings and better technology are foolish and false hopes that can’t deliver on their promises. A new cell phone is no substitute for knowing and be known by God. 

Yes, I’m writing this on a computer.  Five minutes ago a used my cell phone. Technology is in the fabric of our lives, for good, and it would be fascinating to be in Vegas to see what’s next. But I have to catch myself today, and write this blog as a kind of check to my temptation. Nothing will be truly better until God takes over…

“God, you are the Maker of all makers. You give the ideas and capacity to the creators of new things. And in this way inventors and builders reflect something about you. But new gadgets don’t substitute for you our true purpose, which is to know and be known by you. Today, I will turn off the radio and listen. I will ignore the updates on my Blackberry and pray. I’m so eager to connect with anyone and everything… but you! Forgive me. I’m here and listening. We have some good things to say to one another, and we don’t need a virtual connection to make it happen! In Jesus.”

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