Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Technology

Repost: Glorified

[This post was first published in April 2014.]

Dark cross“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (John 12:23)

According to John’s gospel, Jesus utters these words shortly after entering Jerusalem at the beginning of this holiest and darkest of weeks. The atmosphere is heavy with speculation that Jesus could be the one to spearhead the revolution that will finally throw off the shackles of Rome. The crowd, willing to believe this, fêtes Jesus as king as he rides into the city, completely missing the symbolic significance of the fact that he is riding not on a white charger but on a donkey’s colt.

Given so much hope of glory among both the populace in general and Jesus’ own disciples in particular (not long before, they were still arguing about who would get the best seats with Jesus in heaven), it’s easy to imagine how they might have understood Jesus’ comment that it was time for him to be glorified. Yes! It’s going to happen! Jesus is finally going to take his rightful place and ascend to his throne!

They were right: Jesus was going to take his place. But what they didn’t realise was this: in a world that prizes strength, ambition, power and cunning, enforced by violence and kept in motion by sacrificial religion, there is only one fitting place for a God who is and always has been infinite mercy and love: the cross.

Read More

Continous partial attention

Canadian pastor-blogger Darryl Dash has a post up about “continuous partial attention”, which he defines as follows:

We’re never completely tuning in to one thing because of the other stimuli competing for our attention.

  • It’s checking in on Facebook while the professor lectures.
  • It’s pulling out the smartphone while on a date with your wife.
  • It’s tweeting in the middle of a sermon.
  • It’s missing out on what’s here because we’re wondering what’s going on somewhere else that we’re missing.
  • It’s never being able to pray because we’re too distracted.

What’s lost is the ability to pay attention, to sustain thought, to be fully present. And that’s a shame when it comes to our most important relationships, not to mention our ability to think and pray.

In his post, Darryl wonders whether this could be one of the greatest pastoral issues we’re facing today. I think he could be right. This obsession with constant social media connection encourages us to lead fragmented lives where we are never fully present in the moment. I fear, in particular, for today’s young people, many of whom appear not to know how to disengage from the noise and chatter of the virtual world. This will surely take its toll in their future real-world relationships. Meanwhile, many parents sit idly by, and some even give their kids smartphones as early as five years old. This is madness.

(I blogged about this in an earlier post, More connected but further apart than ever.)

More connected but further apart than ever

Yesterday, I came across this short video that really strikes a chord with me:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of technology, and I’m just as connected as the next person. I have a smartphone and a tablet, and I make fairly heavy use of social media and the internet in general.

However, call me old-fashioned, but I also believe in the value of, and the need for, face-to-face engagement. Real relationship and communication require us to be 100% present to the person or people we are with, at least some of the time. Trying to have a conversation with someone who has one eye on their smartphone is an exercise in frustration, because they are not fully present. Their body is in the room but at least half of their mind is elsewhere. The message being sent to us is that any text, tweet or update they may receive is guaranteed to be more important, more interesting and more worthy of their attention than we are.

Read More

All content on this site is copyright © Rob Grayson 2013-2016 unless otherwise indicated