You are probably reading this blog on your smartphone. These magnificent tools have come into our lives to make them better, easier, and more streamlined. We are able to access information at the speed of a click, one-second load on 4G speeds, and delving into it right away. The advent of the smartphone, the perfection of the e-reader, and the increasing involvement of technology in regular use settings, such as our homes and our cars, have made life incredibly convenient. The usage of technology is a tricky matter, however. Technology has a dark side under the incandescent light glowing towards our faces.
As Adam Halter puts it in his book Irresistible,
One could see this as a gloom and doom situation. We seem to be "disconnected", "unaware", and aloof from the society in which we live. We have, as a general practice, created new communities in our digital world, engage with podcasts, blogs, and posts that create a diversity of thought not found anywhere else. Technology has allowed us to spread news, create movements, and support each other faster than in any other era.
The reality that surrounds us, one of constant use of social networks, apps, and other commodities, permits the advancement of tasks in an easy manner while at the same time possesses a negative component for those who are unable to resist the temptation of procrastination and wasting time.
I would like to propose to you that technological advancements are not evil in and of themselves (very few things in the world are). They have allowed us to solve medical problems, discover new horizons, and inform ourselves better. However, their usage has not always been proper. People go to extremes and live in a digital reality, forgetting that there are other components which are necessary to have a meaningful life. The ideas of engaging in one's community, nature paths, and fellowship in the "real" world are all necessary parts to make a wholistic person. It is necessary, then, to understand that the technology is as useful as its user. As humans, we have, or at least are supposed to have, the loci of control. If we don't, we are on dangerous ground.
I am the first to admit that I have a dysfunctional relationship with technology. I love using it, getting the latest gadget, and spend a decent amount of time on Facebook and other social media engagement with people. However, I hate that sometimes and go into super breaks, buy a flip phone, and try to disconnect from everything digital as I come to realize that I am becoming addicted and not use my free-will. The inescapable reality of using technology boggles me and I want to be able to use it more mindfully. Even companies like Google or Apple have recognized this necessity of balance and are now developing features in their next releases of software that include time limits, monitoring how much one uses their phones, and other features that allow us to regain our reality from the digital realm.
A transition that has been needed since 2008 when the iPhone was introduced. It is natural for us to have this relationship, however. The advent of technological features is rather new and it is a new relationship, a new reality, that we are learning how to relate to.
Balance and Mission
As individuals, it is key that we find the balance. This new space is allowing us to communicate at faster rates, send information, and introduce conversations that were only a wish in the minds of dreamers years ago. The diffusion of news, videos, podcasts, information as a whole, allow us to receive and provide a new framework. It is also dangerous and recognizing our need for a break is also important. Yet, technological advancements help us to further the mission of the church.
You are reading this, you are being changed, at least a bit I hope. This would not have been possible without technology, smartphones, browsers. As Adventists, I believe that we are to use this new space to create experiences, build community, and change the world by giving them the message of truth. We are to invest in this relatively new space to reach others for the sake of the kingdom and connect them to the real world. The digital world is just another avenue to reclaim the humanity of people and help them see what are the needs they have and their communities have. This connected world allows us to show others through creative avenues of the importance of Christ and His cross.
If we do not engage, we will not change. Thus, as Adventists we are to follow the example of our Christian Fathers, the Pioneers of the Adventist movement. We are to engage with every medium in this world to build a future that, as the motto of my Alma Mater states, "Seeks knowledge, Affirms truth, and Changes the world."