I like you a lot.
I like that I’m free to surf waves that land me in real time on the beaches of friends oceans away. I like how you’re the all-access, equal-opportunity, great leveller. I like that journalists chant when their access to you is denied because I like that I’m free to tweet my mom, and Barack Obama. I like that you have most of the answers to my six-year-old’s questions. I like that, because of you, it’s never been quicker or easier to share Jesus across continents and cultural divides.
But I want to make a couple things clear, Internet.
You are not enough for me.
You are not enough for me because you don’t have freckles or thick blonde curls sticky with sunshine and wonder. You can’t look at me across a room and know that I need tea and your hand to hold. You are not enough for me because I need aroma and tone, deep pressure and the nuances of more facial expressions than you offer in your bank of emoticons.
You are not enough for me because you don’t tell me everything. You trick me into scanning Fakebook like it’s Factbook. The people you show me are shiny and trendy and cliquey and cool. But you don’t show me how some days they have to wear their fat pants and some nights they go to bed angry and most weeks they queue at the supermarket for milk and toilet paper like the rest of ordinary humanity.
And another thing –
You are not the boss of me, or the world.
You sway me with stats showing how much the world has changed, and how much of it you control. How much I need to rub virtual shoulders with popular people and follow the brand-building formulas you tout so I can Be Somebody online and in life. You bait me into likes, tweets and retweets to clamber onto newer higher platforms that will get me further faster. Except that –
And sure, you drive a culture.
He’s at work in places you’ve scarcely heard of amongst people who have never heard of you. His presence saturates your fibre optic conduits and his presence rests in ocean depths and the airless craters of silent unknown asteroids. He is. So. Very. Big.
He could scramble your signals any time, anywhere.
He has closed doors that you promised to open. He has opened doors you said were shut tight. Because God doesn’t fit into formulas. God will do what God will do. For his glory and our good. So, um –
I’d rather do things his way.
I’d rather not add to your defensive – defeatist – divisive – deafening attitudes. I’d rather not Google success or YouTube my worth. I’d rather just sow whatever cyber seeds I have in my hand, and trust God for the growth.
But dear Internet, thank you.
Because every day you challenge me to settle again who I am, and whose I am. Every day you offer me another chance to pray for wisdom and step in obedience. You confirm that my integrity – online and offline – is directly linked to my faith in God, because if I really believe that God is who he says he is, then I’ll trust him to protect or promote, with or without WiFi. The ads that come up in my Gmail sidebar remind me that, even though you seem to know what I had for breakfast?
The living God knows my name.
. . .
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