Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keeping up with the times - electronically speaking (LOL)

I'm exhausted. My fingers are cramping up! My eyes are blurred and bloodshot. I need some coffee. Why this litany of complaint? Why all the discomfort you ask? Because I am trying to stay up with modern technology. Today alone, I have been asked to join three FaceBook groups; read two blogs; check out several YouTube videos and respond to innumerable, "urgent" SMS messages as my new Blackberry Phone merrily buzzed away in my pocket, signaling the arrival of yet another important communication. I have been invited into 2 instant message conversations on my computer while trying to write a sermon outline. Each time one of my online contacts signs in, I am notified by a little gong sound and notice of an IM conversation flashes across the bottom of my screen. Someone wants to talk. OMGWe laugh about it in our office because, though we are only separated by 20 feet distance, we tend to communicate with each other via emails or instant messages instead of getting up and walking to one another's office to talk face to face. Now there is a new voice is being heard. Perhaps you have seen it or heard of it. Maybe even some of you are doing it. "Twitter" is the latest way of staying in touch in real time. Just today I have heard at least three references to "tweeting" and A person who is on Twitter can tell the world what they are doing at any given moment - as if we were all dying to hear the intimate, sometimes strange details of a person's thoughts and actions as they are happening. Dos anyone remember landline phones? How about stopping by someone's house just to visit or taking time over a cup of coffee just to get caught up with someone you haven't seen for awhile. No, we live in an age of instant, electronic communication. I for one don't know, understand, or really appreciate the value of some of the abbreviated codes. I refuse to end each sentence with the cryptic LOL (oops, I guess I just did). You'd think that for an introvert like me, the anonymity and safety of electronic, instant communication would be a welcome way of interacting with others. But something there is, inside each one of us, that longs for the reality of eye contact, human voice, and, at times, even touch. That is what the incarnation of God was all about.

In order to make God's plan most clear, the Lord- the Eternal Word or logos - took on human flesh and lived among us. He invaded our planet; ‘moved into our neighborhood.’ "We beheld his glory, full of grace and truth," John says. The author of Hebrews agreed when he wrote - "Long ago and in many times and many ways God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through his Son.He is the exact radiance of God’s being" (Hebrews 1:1-3) God made us as communal creatures. We long for contact. We hunger for personal relationship. Last week, I was at a conference and I saw a friend I hadn't seen in some time. I knew, via some of the unofficial channels of communication in our denomination, that he had been going through a rough time over the last few years. He'd had some health problems. More recently he had resigned his pastorate of 25 years. I had assumed he probably was hurting and I kept thinking to myself, I need to contact him. Every time I sat down to write an email, I thought to myself that it would be too impersonal. But then I just kept putting off calling him to make arrangements to meet. My fault totally - not his at all. We had a great talk. I appreciated his candor about his pain and struggle. I also appreciated that he was willing to share some valuable lessons with me.
We parted saying we would get together in person when there was more time to really catch up. I hope I don't drop the ball. Lord, help me follow through. Let me be a person to my friend; an incarnation of your love and grace. I think I'll text him right now and see when he can meet. Oh, oh, I feel my phone vibrating. Better check it out. L8R!

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