My wife and I went on a cruise over New Years’ 2017. We both agreed that we would go our separate ways during the day and meet up for important things like meals and ship-board events we both wanted to attend. But if we needed to contact each other for some reason, how would we do that? Our cell phones were no good for even texting since there were no cell towers out in the ocean.
Well, it turned out that the cruise line provided an app you could download to your smart phone to stay in contact with your family/group you were cruising with. Not only could we text each other, but we could do the following:
- Sign up for alerts to receive reminders about shipboard events
- Figure out where lunch, dinner, and snacks were being served (always important on a cruise!)
- Learn about special deals the ship was always wanting to sell us.
- Access a shipboard map that told you where you were and how to get where you wanted to go.
So, I got to thinking: We live in what Thomas Friedman calls “The Age of Acceleration.” In 2015, I did not own a smart phone. If I had gone on the cruise two years earlier, even if the cruise boat had such an app, I couldn’t have used it. Without a smart phone, you couldn’t download and use the app I just described. But in 2017, I DID have a smart phone that I was still learning to use. Once I downloaded the app and played with it, I LOVED IT!
This led me to another thought involving my church. Imagine an app that your church could provide so that small groups in your church could:
1. Chat with one another
2. Share praises/prayer requests
3. Engage in a group bible study where they can see each other’s comments as they all read the same book.
4. Chose to receive alerts/notes about church-wide / denominational items (pastor sermons, classes, etc.)
Advances in technology make all this possible. However, our ability to adjust to change and simplify the complex is being overwhelmed. Changes in the global economy, technology, and demographics are happening so fast that we, as a society, are suffering from DISLOCATION: A condition that exists when the whole environment is being altered so quickly that everyone starts to feel they can’t keep up.
Because we live in what Thomas Friedman calls “Age of Acceleration,” this sense of dislocation causes us to question our life’s purpose. Our search for meaning and understanding who we are and what role, if any, God plays in our lives is being severely stressed.
What can we do? We need to learn how to combine familiar activities and practices with new things we are unsure of. This is called SYNERGY: The combining of several ideas to create one new idea. This is the idea Jesus had in mind when he said that to contain the new wine of what he was preaching, we needed new wine skins. To contain the grace of the Holy Spirit, we needed to be Born Again.
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